HAMILTON, Ohio -- The city of Hamilton, hoping to boost its number of college-educated residents, will soon begin offering cash incentives of up to $5,000 to young professionals who move there.
The Talent Attraction Program Scholarship is an offer Alex Atkinson, a recent graduate of Missouri Western State University, said was too good to ignore.
"I just got out of college, so you're making money for the first time and then, all of a sudden, 'Oh, wait, it's not free,'" she said. "'You have to pay all that money back that you spent on college.' When I heard about this opportunity, I said, 'Let's check it out.'"
According to Bob Long of the Hamilton Community Foundation, the organization that created the scholarship, only about 15 percent of current Hamilton residents have a college education. He hopes the incentive will help to change that.
"It's an opportunity to bring more people, especially young people with lots of energy, into the community," he said.
To receive the cash, which is paid in installments of $200 for up to 25 months, program participants must:
- Not live in Hamilton at the time of the application process.
- Have graduated within the past seven years from a "STEAM" program, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
- Have at least $5,000 in outstanding student debt.
- Move into Hamilton's urban core, which includes the specific neighborhoods of Downtown/Central Business District; Riverview; German Village; Dayton Lane; or Rossville.
- Demonstrate employment in the greater Hamilton area or Butler County.
"It's a very good time to be here," Long said. You do see, especially in the downtown, that things are changing. A lot of empty buildings now have new shops."
And, with any luck, they'll have new Hamiltonians to patronize them.
Applications for the scholarship will officially open in March. Only 10 young professionals will be accepted in 2018, but the Hamilton Community Foundation hopes to expand the pool of recipients in the future, Long said.