Bright Future is a vocationally-oriented and case-managed education program.
Reza Khastou has been working with high school students for almost 30 years, as a mentor, advisor, teacher, consultant, and college administrator. He is the Founder and Director of Bright Future, and also serves as the Director of Adult Basic Education and Transitional Studies at a community college in Seattle. Reza is a community leader within Seattle, and is currently a board member for 501 Commons, an organization that provides consulting and additional resources to other non-profits.
Reza was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran. He came to the US in 1978 to continue his education after graduating from Tehran University with a degree in Political Science. He earned his Master’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University and holds a vocational education certification in Washington State. He is married and the father of two adult children.
Reza found two major short comings in high schools: lack of options for high school students who are not in a four year college track, and lack of support services for students who need extra academic and economic support. He started the Bright Future Program at Seattle Vocational Institute in 1998 to answer these problems. The Bright Future Program helps students to earn an industry certificate in one of the following fields: Health care, Information Technology, Pre apprenticeship in Construction Trade, Business, and Cosmetology.
Important Milestones in the History of the Bright Future Program:
1998 – Reza privately funded the startup cost of the program.
1999 – First Bright Future cohort graduated.
In 2003 Reza was able to forge an interlocal agreement between Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Community Colleges that allowed transfer of funds from Seattle Public Schools to SVI.
In 2005 SVI was able to report and receive Running Start funding for Bright Future students. Reza was able to convince Washington’s Office of Super intendant of Public Instruction that SVI is a part of Washington State Community Colleges and as such qualified for Running Start funding.
2007 – Public Broadcasting station KCTS9 Seattle recognizes the Bright Future Program with the Golden Apple Award.
2009 – Recipient of the Governor’s Best Practice Award in partnership with Health Careers for Youth Grant
2015 – Institute for a Bright Future (non-profit) founded with the mission of replicating the Bright Future Program into other geographic areas and expanding the numbers of students served.
As of the end of the 2014-15 school year, nearly 300 Bright Future students have graduated with both an industry certificate and a high school diploma.
Institute for a Bright Future was created as reaction of a group of outstanding citizens realizing that the “unjust distribution of wealth in the United States of America” endangers our national security and to solve it we need “Just distribution of knowledge, skills, and information”.
Bright Future model allows high school students access to advanced workforce education in community colleges through dual enrollment programs. Many high schools, especially those located in rural and urban areas, feel pressure to offer four college track courses and as a result, do not offer preparatory career and technical courses, limiting the opportunities and earning potential of those students not opting to attend a four-year university..
Given the success of the Bright Future Program and the high need of at-risk students everywhere, Reza began actively working to replicate the program in other geographic areas. He partnered with Scott Seidel CEO of Spencer Technologies Inc. and Steve Marzocco, the Cofounding Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer for Humanity Financial Trust Management Group, and the two of them recruited a dedicated and influential team of educators and business professionals equally dedicated to expanding the Bright Future program. Please click here for more information about Reza Khastou and the other founders of the Institute for a Bright Future.
The Institute for a Bright Future program:
Provides an alternative path to a diploma.
Access college-level career training and workplace certificates prior to high school graduation.
Allows a different educational environment for those not succeeding in a traditional high school setting
Students gain mentoring, in addition to academic and vocational instruction
Students receive comprehensive case management
Bright Future staff work closely with counselors, faculty, parents, and administrators to support student success. The high completion rate of Bright Future students is a direct outcome of comprehensive case management.
Colleges and vocational schools want to adopt the Insitute for a Bright Future's program, because:
Higher completion rates for Bright Future students who receive comprehensive case management support
Increases enrollments without additional student acquisition costs or course development costs
Bright Future fills empty seats in existing college or vocational schools' certificate programs
Bright Future students are typically different from those already participating in other existing programs
Introduces high school students to the college or vocational school, thereby increasing the probability of reenrollment after earning a diploma
The benefits to public or high schools are as follows:
Increases the graduation rate
Prevents at-risk students from dropping out
Enables satisfaction of Common Core CTE requirements
Expands curricular offerings
Reduces expenses associated with vocational training by allowing access without adding costs for equipment, building, or instructors.
Increases enrollment, because students must be enrolled with their home district to participate in Bright Future
No on-going costs as the Bright Future model is self-sustaining after the first 2 years
Through internships, students learn new skills while contributing to community businessesAA