March 8, 2024 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber urges lawmakers to extend teacher externship program

Missouri teachers would continue to participate in hands-on learning and take that knowledge back to their students under a bill recently heard in a House committee.

This week, the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee heard HB 1945, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph). It would repeal the sunset provision for the teacher externship program that is set to expire on Aug. 28, 2024.

Since 2019, the teacher externship program has allowed educators in grades K-12 to participate in externships at local businesses and career centers to gain hours of education to advance along the salary schedule. Officials with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said over 400 teachers participated in externships last year.

“The exposure to these businesses can help teachers in their teaching and enhance discussions with students about what opportunities and careers exist after high school and college,” Shields told the committee. “Many teachers do not know the types of jobs available for their students, and this program allows teachers to return to the classroom and talk to students about what opportunities are available to them.”

Shields’ inspiration for the bill was her own experience working at the Quaker Oats Company. She said that she wished teachers would have talked with her about the variety of opportunities available at the company.

Several teachers submitted online testimony as to the success of this program. Shields also noted that partnerships with the Missouri Chamber and local chambers have been extremely valuable in getting the program off the ground.

Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber, told the committee the Missouri Chamber was in strong support of Shields’ bill.

“We have a teacher externship program as part of the Missouri Chamber Foundation known as Show-Me Careers,” Corches said. “It’s specifically for educators and school counselors to visit businesses and get hands-on learning. We really believe it’s good policy for the state to integrate and build relationships between businesses and schools, because we want to make sure we’re keeping these kids in our communities.”

For more information, contact Corches at or 573-634-3511.


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