Reaffirming their commitment to the Bright Futures Grant Program, the Weld County Board of Commissioners approved a funding plan that will take the program securely into 2023. The plan, which will transfer funds annually from the tax credit trust fund and the economic development trust fund to the Bright Futures Weld County Student Grant Trust Fund, will provide stability for the program while clearly defining the public donation amount needed each year to sustain the workforce-development initiative.
To date, with five semesters of data so far, the program has assisted 5,279 Weld County students with post-secondary education. In fact, from Aims Community College alone, 289 certificates and 30 degrees have been awarded to Bright Futures grant recipients since the program started providing funds to students in 2016.
According to Dr. Nancy Gray, Executive Director of Financial Aid for Aims, degrees to Bright Futures recipients have been awarded in Ag Business, Business, Psychology, History, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, Fire Science, Master Auto Service Technology, Medical/Clinical Assisting and Computer Information Systems. Certificates have been award in Automotive, Graphic Design, Engineering, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Animal Science, Welding, Fire Science, Nurse Aide, Medical/Clinical Assisting, Computer Information Systems, Sterile Instrument Processing, Phlebotomy, and at least one student attained the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
“This model shows the private sector that their contributions, which go directly to the students, and Bright Futures is doing a great job in supporting and aligning industry sectors and academic institutions by providing skills development to fill positions,” said Rich Werner, President and CEO of Upstate Colorado Economic Development, which over sees the Bright Future Grant Program. “This ecosystem puts Weld County and the region in a competitive position as it develops the next generation of workforce.”
Started in August of 2015, the Bright Futures Grant Program was designed to be a workforce-development program aimed at providing financial assistance to U.S. Veterans, high school graduates, and GED recipients who wanted to pursue post-secondary certificate or degree programs. Legislation passed at the state level earlier that year, allowed the county to give a property tax credit to any individual who donated funds to the program.
“The county has been dedicated to the success of this program from day one, and it is our hope that the passage of this resolution will give the residents and businesses of Weld County the assurance that financially supporting this program is the right thing to do to make our workforce competitive,” said Commissioner Chair Steve Moreno.
“County funding for this program in the form of property tax credits is only one part of what makes this program unique, though” Dale Hall, Chairman of the Bright Futures Board. “The support from our communities, such as the City of Evans which has donated $63,000 since 2016, and the City of Greeley, which has supplied staff assistance from Dr. Susan Walker, is also a valuable component to not only this programs’ success but also to the success of residents throughout our county.”
To learn more about the Bright Futures program, please visit brightfuturesco.com