Can Teacher Externs Push The Limits of Micro Manufacturing?


When you work in an industry that is constantly evolving and pushing the limits of micro manufacturing technology, soliciting feedback from every possible angle offers a perspective you otherwise wouldn’t be privy to. The more diverse and the fresher the perspective, the greater opportunity we have to develop truly unique and unexpected ideas, and one strategy we employ to push our knowledge is by inviting local teacher externs to immerse themselves in our culture.

Our paid teacher externship (vs internship) program invites educators from our community to come to our headquarters and work for us during their summer recess period as temporary Accumold employees. Working side by side with our staff in various departments merges two perspective not often in the same space. Educators unique perspective on their temporary job provides new opportunities for improvements, but we aren’t the only one benefiting from this fresh perspective.

This concept also allows us to collaborate with teachers on the future workforce and what they need. First of all, they teach us about their students, (our future employees) what they need, and how to attract them to our company. Second, we instruct teachers in our community to better frame what careers look like for their students and how to prepare for them. It’s a big win/win.

Here’s some feedback from one of our teacher externs that just finished up her summer program. Thanks to the Ankeny Community School District for lending us their incredible educators, allowing us to continue to push the limits of micro manufacturing!

Angie Hanson, Ankeny Community School District

Angela Hanson, Accumold Extern

Angela Hanson, Accumold Extern

I had such a wonderful externship at Accumold in Ankeny it is difficult to select one experience as the most impactful.  However, the integral role problem-solving and collaboration play in the success of not only a project but also the company will remain in the forefront of my mind.  I will use examples of this in the classroom to emphasize why being able to think flexibly, solve problems, persevere, and work well with others is critical to doing well in any future career pathway.  Previously, I would tell students this based on stories from family and friends, but now I can talk about my own experiences.  This lends credibility and power to the message, especially to those students who prefer to work alone and disengage from team work.  Now I can truly say that while working in the business world I did not see a single job in which you work in isolation all the time. Everyone had projects that required collaboration, communication, and teamwork.

Nick Lachen, Ankeny Community School District

Nick Lachen, Accumold Extern

Nick Lachen, Accumold Extern

I loved seeing all of the practical applications of physics, engineering, and math being used at Accumold. I think it is really cool how all of these things come together to make a product. People, of course, are behind every one of these steps, but some of the machines here I didn’t even know existed!

I really enjoyed working on a problem that was valuable to the company, with a not-clear solution – not some arbitrary or contrived problem. I also have another experience where I can’t just ‘google’ the answer — I believe many students think they will be able to google their way through all of their problems, but I tried to google my problem and it didn’t work! Solving problems and communicating those solutions are paramount to a successful business. This is central to everything I do in my classroom and something I will continue to foster. I really enjoyed working with everyone at Accumold!

Other Education Initiatives

  • See the other ways we collaborate with the community and schools.
  • Check out our volunteer efforts with local business students and the future workforce.


micromolding components next to EU coins.

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