Menu Close

Virtual Teacher


During the week of July 20, 2020, ElevateEdAZ and the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) connected fifteen employers with over twenty educators during Arizona’s first Virtual Educator Externship.

What is an Educator Externship?

Externships are a professional development opportunity where educators engage in industry activities to learn how classroom content and learning are applied in the workplace. Usually, an externship is done in-person; however, in response to COVID-19, ElevateEdAZ and CFA hosted the externship virtual. During this virtual externship, educators spent four days rotating between various industry experiences via Zoom meetings, ending with a collaborative and interactive group activity, creating lessons that apply their newly acquired industry acumen in the classroom.

Who Participated?

Participating businesses represented high demand industries throughout Arizona. Representatives include 1st Bank Yuma, Arizona Public Service, Alliance of Arizona NonProfits, Banner Health, Bechtel, Charles Schwab, DP Electric, HonorHealth, Salt River Project, State Farm, University of Phoenix, University of Arizona Yuma-College of Agriculture & Life Science, Vanguard, Wells Fargo, and Fullstack Academy, a Zovio partner.

Twenty-two educators from and community colleges across the state participated in the externship. Teachers, counselors, advisors, and program coordinators from Pima Community College, Maricopa County Community College District, Amphitheater School District, Phoenix Union High School District, Sunnyside School District, Peoria School District, Dysart School District, Mesa Public Schools, and Yuma STEDY were represented.

Through focused interviews, panels, trainings, and virtual tours, each business dedicated one to two hours hosting sessions that gave educators glimpses into the respective industries. Topics covered included career, technical and employability skills, and professional culture and expectations.

See the Externships in Action!

Most externship sessions held during the 2020 Virtual Teacher Externship week were recorded so that the industry knowledge could be shared broadly and impact as many classrooms across Arizona as possible.

Assessing Value

Employers and educators each had various reasons for participation, but most agree that the experience allowed educators to gain advanced industry knowledge and equip them to better prepare their students for life after graduation.

“It was rewarding to be able to provide teachers information that they can take back and use in their classrooms,” said Sandy Carlock, Talent Brand Specialist from State Farm.

Annette Wright-Smith, Health Sciences Teacher from Phoenix Union High School District, elaborated on the type of information learned, “Employability skills are as important or even more important than technical knowledge. Technical knowledge can be taught on the job, but soft skills are needed to do the job well.”

Assessing Results

The Virtual Educator Externship Recap Report provides a detailed summary of the externships and activities completed. It summarizes the surveys employers and educators completed after completing the externships. Key learnings from the externships and satisfaction with the externships are included in the recap.

Want to learn more?

If you are an employer interested in engaging in work-based learning similar to educator externships, please contact Senior Education Partnership Manager, Kimberly Hanes,

Share ElevateEdAZ!