High Company

Teachers are shown at the 2017 Rational Career Exploration Externship meeting in The S. Dale High Leadership Center.

Hands-on Training Helps Teachers Bring STEM Career Options to Students

Quick Facts Infographic for Externship community case study

High Helps Set the Template for Business-Educator Collaboration

At a Glance

  • Students need support to fully understand and appreciate STEM career opportunities.
  • High collaborated with community leaders to develop and pilot a three-day workshop for educators to bring STEM careers to life in the classroom.
  • The program’s success made it a template that other area employers follow.
  • High is committed to helping align educational programs with workforce needs.



“This is why I became a teacher.” – Externship participant

Close the Gap in STEM Career Understanding

In 2017, the High organization became the first employer to pilot a Rational Career Exploration Externship with Lancaster County educators. This was an important new collaboration between High and the Lancaster County STEM Alliance and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

We came together to address the challenges young people face when choosing a career to pursue, and which education opportunities will be the best to prepare them. There are gaps in the messages students receive at this critical time in their lives, and their understanding of what businesses have to offer is incomplete. As a result, well-paying, sustainable careers are often overlooked.

This is a problem for the students, because they may end up in jobs that aren’t the best match. It’s also a problem for employers, who are having increasing difficulty in filling positions that require STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. As a business whose ability to grow depends on a qualified workforce, High is committed to making sure we’re helping students make good, informed, rational career exploration and decisions; and to helping our schools align the educational programs with the workforce needs.

Because teachers and counselors are a primary influence on career exploration, the STEM Alliance, the Chamber, and High agreed on three primary goals for the workplace training program:

  1. Teachers/counselors will be better informed about the depth and breadth of STEM jobs at High

  2. Teachers/counselors will better understand the knowledge, skills, academic preparation, and average compensation associated with several positions at High

  3. Teachers/counselors will make connections with High co-workers who can serve as resources to them throughout the school year


With 10 business units operating in industries as diverse as steel bridge fabrication, precast concrete, and architectural design to hotel construction and management, we offer a wealth of career opportunities. The Externship was a three-day pilot that brought together roughly 45 educators, administrators, and a few additional guests so they could see first-hand the versatile range of careers that are available at the High companies. Representing 16 Lancaster County school districts and a few private schools, these key influencers got hands-on experience with welding, pouring concrete, construction, engineering, and information services and more.

The feedback was overwhelming. Educators were thrilled with the experience, and couldn’t wait to get in front of their classes to share what they had learned. “This is why I became a teacher,” said one participant. The Externship connected and resonated with them and thousands of their students, and is a model for workforce development collaborations.

More than 50 High co-workers devoted hundreds of hours of preparation to this extraordinary effort and outstanding outcome. This was a great honor for High, and a great step forward for career readiness and for the future of our workforce in Lancaster and Central Pennsylvania.

Three Days of Learning

The Externship gave teachers fun, hands-on experiences that sharpened their STEM career messages for students.

Career-ready Workers

High supports the vision of the Lancaster County STEM Alliance.


Business-educator Collaboration

High Companies helped set the template for an exciting work-embedded professional learning experience.


This was a phenomenal experience, and I am very grateful to the High Companies …. A very positive learning experience that can be carried forward to current and former students.” - Externship participant