Project Description

Tomorrows Business Leaders

The Academic Leadership Alliance (A•L•A) is a partnership that began in 2003, when the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Region One Education Service Center, and RGV LEAD entered into an agreement that they would work together to strengthen the employer/educator connection, with the ultimate goal of making classroom instruction more relevant in order to provide more productive and successful employees in the future.

During the A•L•A experience, educators spend two weeks at employer worksites, then spend a week developing lesson plans and counseling materials that are used with students in the academic year following the experience.  Educators share the materials they have developed with their employer partners before using the materials with students in the fall.  Many employer-educator partnerships have developed, and thousands of students benefit from instruction based on Externship experiences every year.

In A•L•A, RGV LEAD asks employers to treat their Educator-Externs like employees.  The resulting experience gives employers the opportunity to have a positive impact on the development of the “future workforce” that business and industry need.   School districts recruit educators as participants, providing these individuals with the opportunity to learn first-hand about employers’ needs, both “hard skills” (mathematics, communication, computer literacy) and “soft skills,” such as working in teams, communicating effectively, and demonstrating good work habits.

School districts assign their own personnel to serve as coordinators for their districts.  These District Coordinators work closely with the A•L•A Regional Coordinator and other members of the A•L•A leadership team throughout the summer.  At the end of the experience, all participants complete evaluations, which are then analyzed and summarized for the leadership team and business partners.

Participating employers and educators consistently report positive experiences, and many school districts and employers are multi-year participants.

Funding for the A•L•A Summer Educator Externships is provided through in-kind and cash support of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Region One Education Service Center, Mission Economic Development Corporation, Workforce Solutions, school districts, and individual employers.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Customized For Virtual Learning

Through our externships effort that started in response to COVID19, RGV LEAD has customized the 2021 Summer  Academic Leadership Alliance for virtual learning.

Since 2003, RGV LEAD externships have been a vital part of the education and workforce training infrastructure in the Rio Grande Valley.  The externships provide teachers opportunities to learn through direct industry experience about trends, skill requirements, and careers related to their areas of instruction in order to enrich and strengthen their teaching and bring relevance to student learning.  

With this first‐hand exposure, teachers then design and implement classroom activities, projects, and work‐ based learning opportunities for students that will deepen and add relevance and meaning to students’ classroom learning.  These opportunities connect classroom content with students’ future career interests and help students develop both the academic and technical skills required in the world they are preparing to enter.

Building Academic and Industry Relationships

Externships also give employers the opportunity to inform educators about their expectations of employees in various career areas. Through the experiences, employers can offer direct input into the curriculum, thereby contributing to the preparation of their future workforce.

Finally, externship experiences provide opportunities for employers and teachers to strengthen their relationships and build partnerships that can last beyond the externship.  Employers can participate further by serving as speakers or mentors, or by offering opportunities for tours, job shadowing, or student internships.

MAKE AN IMPACT

Virtual Externship Model

The 2021  Summer Virtual A•L•A is a structured one-week program for educators across the Rio Grande Valley. During the externship educators will rotate through various industry experiences provided by multiple businesses. This experience is designed to provide educators with industry awareness and acumen that will maximize their ability to help students develop career awareness and enhance career pathway exploration. The virtual externship model maximizes connections between industry and educators to improve student outcomes and meet workforce needs.

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Industry Leading Skills

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Build Your Future With Avada Education

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A•L•A LEADERS

DR. NORMA SALAIZ
DR. NORMA SALAIZProgram Developer
ELIZA GROFF
ELIZA GROFFProject Manager
LUIS RODRIGUEZ
LUIS RODRIGUEZExecutive Director, RGV LEAD
NAOMI PERALES
NAOMI PERALESChair, A•L•A

Engaging over 50,000 Students in RGV LEAD