Welcome to Bright Future!

Welcome to Bright Future!

Bright Future is a vocationally-oriented and case-managed program.

Bright Future is a program that supports Seattle area high school students at the junior or senior level who qualify for Running Start and choose to enroll in the Bright Future program. (Running Start is a Washington State program that allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to take college coursework.) 

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A current look at the Bright Future program (Fall 2017)

What is the situation with Bright Future today, Fall of 2017?

We have heard about the critical need for skilled workers to fill vacant jobs: jobs at Amazon, jobs on ferries, manufacturing jobs requiring advanced computer literacy. Should everyone go to a four-year college? College graduation rates are disappointing and many graduates wind up with staggering debt and poor pay.

However, local high schools discourage students from a vocational path and even from the state Running Start program--which funds tuition for academic or vocational courses. Administrators may fear a drop in their graduation statistics if students transfer to a vocational program before graduation. They may also be concerned that they will lose per-student state funding to another institution. So now, students at risk of not graduating are steered to a GED program, which does not yield job-ready skills, but protects the drop-out rate. Some schools offer introductory vocational programs but students don't earn a certificate that would qualify them for a job in their field. Only college-level programs award industry certificates, and many of those jobs pay well at the entry level.

The Bright Future program at Seattle Vocational Institute successfully served more than 500 high school students in the last eighteen years. The majority of these 500 students were at risk of not graduating from high school. Over the eighteen years, 88% have graduated from high school and over 65% have earned industry certificates. In the last five years, the average rate of high school graduation for students in this program is 95%. Because of these new skills, many students have completed more college training or even gone on to a four-year college.

Bright Future, founded and directed by Reza Khastou, uses Running Start funding, intense case management, and close coaching to support the individual student's learning. The Bright Future program partners with Bright Future Dollars for Scholars (BFDFS), to cover unmet financial needs of economically-disadvantaged students. (At-risk high school students often are not able to buy books and uniforms--a small grant of $100 or $200 can help a student remain in the chosen program.)

What do successful Bright Future students look like?

Consider the success of these Bright Future students: Crystal, a student at a Seattle alternative high school, without direction, had no idea how to plan for her own future. Because of Bright Future, she became a Dental Assistant as she graduated from high school, then went on to become a Dental Hygienist. Nikki, also a student at a Seattle alternative high school (whose circumstances left her responsible for her two younger siblings), graduated from high school, became a Medical Assistant and a valued employee at Harborview. Priscilla, a Medical Assistant graduate who has been promoted twice, was asked by her employer about more Bright Future graduates for its openings. (See these stories on the About Us page!)

These students gained valuable skills and an industry certificate as they graduated. They became successful members of our community right out of high school instead of failing first and needing an expensive remedial program later.

There are similar stories-students from immigrant families, special education students, and some students, financially on their own, who gain job-ready skills to fund further education. One could see hope on their faces as they moved through their program.

The sad truth, in Fall of 2017

The sad truth is that Bright Future, at this time, does not have a home, because Seattle Colleges have focused elsewhere. There are no current students; no at-risk students are able to take advantage of this program.

Several years ago, the board of BFDFS decided to expand this program to more colleges.  Now our work is to restore the program, in the hope that multiple colleges (with a variety of vocational offerings) and school districts will be able to offer the Bright Future alternative to their students.

Hope for this proven program

 If you are a graduate of Bright Future, a parent of a former student, or one of our community supporters, please join us in our efforts. Let us know! We have had encouraging talks with colleges in our area and messages from other area supporters--we have hope, just like the students we have served in the past! If you have any contacts that could help us find the perfect place to continue this work, please contact us--our email address is brightfuture.dfs@gmail.com.

Bright Future is a proven program, a vital model for enabling many more students to succeed within the complexity of modern life. Today's students need modern skills, academic or vocational, or maybe both, to be successful. If all students are truly successful, our community as a whole can prosper.

Mike Madden, President, Bright Future Dollars for Scholars

Christine McMillin-Helsel, Secretary, Bright Future Dollars for Scholars

Email: brightfuture.dfs@gmail.com

Click here to see the Fall 2016 newsletter--you can find graphs of Bright Future statistics. 

Check out the other pages on this Bright Future DFS website--click on the tabs at the top of this page! There are four student stories on the "About Us" tab. We would love to continue serving high school students and return the Bright Future program to multiple college campuses. If you would like to advocate for high school student access to vocational education, please contact us at brightfuture.dfs@gmail.com.  Thanks!