ENID, Okla. (KFOR) – Two non-profit organizations are launching a program offering up to $10,000 per person in student debt relief to people who want to relocate and work in the city of Enid. Program officials said it is a talent attraction for the city in northwest Oklahoma and businesses that need employees.

“We think this is a wonderful example of how philanthropy and economic development can work together to help build our thriving community,” said Carrie Sanders, executive director of the Cherokee Strip Community Foundation.

So the push to bring potential employees to Enid begins with the one-year program. The Cherokee Strip Community Foundation and the Enid Regional Development Alliance are leading the charge on what’s being called the “Work in Enid Award.”

“Enid’s businesses are growing strongly and we don’t have the workforce here to support the jobs we have,” said Lisa Powell, executive director of the Enid Regional Development Alliance.

Enid leaders and community members discuss a new initiative to get people to live and work in Enid.

Powell said the scholarship is open to anyone with student loan debt. She said the hope is to bring more employees to Enid who have been harder to find in town with an unemployment rate of 2-3%.

“The average number of people 25 and older with a college degree who live in Garfield County is actually lower than the state average and lower than the national average,” Sanders said.

There is also no criterion as to the type of employment the person obtains. A job board has been created at jobs.grownid.com/jobs. The council represents over 180 employers with over 500 positions ranging from a nuclear engineer to a store clerk. However, there are certain conditions. A letter of employment commitment from an Enid employer or full-time remote position in a professional role is required within 120 days of selection. Money can be received up to $10,000 to $1,000 per quarter for two and a half years.

“We think Enid has the kind of quality of life that people are looking for,” Powell said.

“There’s a student debt crisis going on right now,” Sanders said. “So it’s really just one tool in their toolbox to help recruit those people.”

There is not necessarily a time limit, you have to stay in Enid to get the money. Since it is paid quarterly, KFOR was told that someone could move to Enid for a quarter of a year, receive the $1,000 and leave. However, at that point the payments would stop. Money cannot be received all at once. The two nonprofits have pledged $65,000 to create the fund. However, they hope to get more donors who can contribute. They said they would continue to give out the awards if there was money in the fund to distribute.

The application for the program can be found on Liveinenid.com.