BFUHS Social Studies Splotlight Kids

Bellows Falls Class Connects Human Geography with Manufacturing and Healthcare Careers

So often high school students roll their eyes and ask, “how am I ever going to use this [knowledge] in the real world?”. BDCC’s Pipelines and Pathways Program (P3) Career Spotlight Series, piloted in partnership with BFUHS this year, helps connect content areas such as Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts with quality employers in Southern Vermont, bringing tangible relevance to big picture concepts.

P3 brought in professionals to talk with Kristin Fredericks’ AP Human Geography class. Employees from Brattleboro Memorial Hospital talked about how population distribution and density affect political, economic, and social processes, including the provision of services such as medical care. Students asked a variety of questions including how social, cultural, political, and economic factors influence fertility, mortality, and migration rates. Imogene Drakes, Director of Laboratory Services, Taylor Wellington, Director of Emergency Room Services, Meredith Burt, Manager of Infection Prevention,  Jacklynn Amidon, Director of Inpatient Services, and Michael Martin, Human Resources and Acquisition, brought a wealth of knowledge to the conversation with real-life anecdotes from the field.

Paige Moody, Production Line Operator and Amy Nimmer, Senior Vice President of Product Supply and Innovation at New Chapter, along Matt Bickford, Training Manager at GS Precision, talked about how outsourcing and economic restructuring have led to a decline in jobs in core regions and an increase in jobs in newly industrialized countries, while an aging workforce in Vermont has driven the need for more employees in the manufacturing sector. Students dove into questions about how sustainable development policies attempt to remedy problems stemming from natural resource depletion, mass consumption, the effects of pollution, and the impact of climate change.

Panelists wrapped up the conversation with stories about their own career pathways and advice for students who are setting postsecondary goals. “Find something you’re enthusiastic about. Then learn everything about that trade, and don’t cut corners. Do your best,” said Ms. Drakes. Ms. Fredericks pointed to the confidence boost students experience when adults talk about the circuitous route they took to land in their current careers. “Wow, what an awesome panel full of professionals who did NOT take a direct route to their current positions! I think a lot of young people believe that adults always know what they want to do for their careers and it is not always so straightforward!”


Career Spotlights are available to all teachers at every school in Windham County. Please reach out to Christy at to bring employers into your classroom and connect students to high wage/high growth careers. 

Funding for P3 is provided by the McClure Foundation, Vermont Training Program, Vermont Community Foundation, the Windham County Economic Development Program, the Thomas Thompson Trust, the George W. Mergens Foundation, People’s United Bank, Tom Smith & Omega Optical, and the Whitney Blake Company in Bellows Falls. 

BDCC’s Pipelines and Pathways Program (P3) provides employment oriented career-planning for the region’s high school students. It brings training in 21st Century skills, work-based learning, and personal learning plan (PLP) engagement opportunities to all four public high schools in Windham County. The program assists in developing workforce-oriented curricula, expanding classroom relationships, and growing work-based learning through opportunities with local employers. It also supports teachers working face to face with students to implement personal learning plans and seize the myriad opportunities presented by Vermont’s Flexible Pathways Initiative under Act 77. Pipelines & Pathways a BDCC Workforce Center of Excellence program based on SeVEDS strategies to increase the size and quality of the workforce. For more information please visit