When Christy Betit and Jay Lagace-Hazeltine first met to talk about career education, they instantly knew they shared a vision. Betit is the Coordinator for the Pipelines and Pathways Program (P3), a high-school career awareness and preparedness program launched by the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation last year. Lagace-Hazeltine is the Technical English teacher at the Windham Career Center (CTE). Both are passionate about taking a holistic, big-picture approach to preparing students for their professional futures.
This fall Lagace-Hazeltine and Betit launched a Career Intensive Pilot that continues through the winter. 20 students in two classes are participating. They are all working towards different career pathways such Arts and Communications or Building and Construction Trades. But at the end of the pilot they will all be prepared to approach job-seeking and the workplace with new skills and confidence. Whether their next step is completing an application for a local internship, or pursuing college admissions, the program is designed to ensure students put their best foot forward as they advance along their chosen career pathway.
The series involves three major components, starting off with stress management and mindfulness. Then students work on professionalism – body language, tone of voice, as well as interpersonal relations and conflict management. The series will culminate in a series of mock interviews with professionals from the community who are interviewers at the end of January. Students will receive special help on how to dress for success, with a local business owner providing coaching and wardrobe elements from her Brattleboro store, Boomerang. Students will complete the series with a portfolio that includes a high-quality resume and cover letter.
Through this pilot Lagace-Hazeltine and Betit are developing lesson plans that will be “plug and play” with activities and resources, including an educator guide. They will begin this spring conducting train-the-trainer events, starting with several CTE teachers who have requested help in providing this kind of curriculum to their own cohorts. The goal is that within the coming year all students at the Windham Career Center will graduate with a new level of baseline preparedness tin their ability to present themselves personally and professionally, whether they are going on to college, employment, or a combination of both.
“In the coming years, as we grow P3, we would like to see a curriculum like this incorporated into all language arts programs so that every child who graduates from a Windham County school possesses core components of career readiness,” said Betit. “P3 is really about making sure that every student leaves high school more knowledgeable, confident, skilled and prepared to pursue their career goals.”
About Pipelines & Pathways
The Pipelines and Pathways Project 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 with opportunities local employers. It will also support 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 https://brattleborodevelopment.com/workforce/
The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, Winhall and Weston. BDCC serves as the State of Vermont’s certified Regional Development Corporation (RDC) for the greater Windham County area. BDCC is one of 12 RDCs throughout Vermont. This BDCC activity was made possible in part by a grant from the State of Vermont through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. For more information visit: https://brattleborodevelopment.com/
Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) is an affiliate of BDCC that grew from a 2008 grassroots effort, initiated by BDCC, to understand and create long term strategies needed to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region and plan for the economic impacts from the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. In 2014, after multiple years of regional input, education and data gathering, SeVEDS received federal approval for the Windham Region’s federally recognized S.M.A.R.T. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). SeVEDS partnered with Bennington’s Regional Economic Development Group in 2018 to develop the 2019 Southern Vermont Zone CEDS. For more information visit: www.seveds.com