Published April 4, 2024 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Professional Learning Externship as a Strategy to Increase Educator Understanding of Emerging Technological Fields

  • 1. Information and Engineering Technologies Division, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA
  • 2. Research and Evaluation, Magnolia Consulting, LLC, Charlottesville, VA


Markets with emerging technologies face a challenge in finding employees with the knowledge base and skills necessary to fulfill their workforce needs. Generating awareness of these career fields is essential to meet workforce needs now and into the future. This paper discusses the extent to which educator awareness of the engineering technology (ET) and data center operations (DCO) programs and careers change as a result of participation in a professional learning (PL) externship program. Secondary educators in the PL program learned specifics of Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) ET programs, toured an ET facility and data center, and developed a plan to disseminate the ET credentialing and career information to their colleagues, students, and parents. In post-participation surveys, educators indicated increased awareness of and interest in ET education programs and career pathways. Additionally, educators indicated an understanding of the industry’s need for ET talent and the skills and technical knowledge students need for ET careers. The data supports an educator externship as a PL mechanism for post-secondary institutions to increase awareness of the educational pathways and careers in emerging technologies.


J.Labrie - Professional Learning Externship 4-4-2024_DOI.pdf

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Expanding Regional Capacity for Training in Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations 2055717
National Science Foundation