First college grads paid $30,000 to move home

Posted on May 25, 2016

Three recent college graduates will share $30,000 in award funding from the Community Foundation of St. Clair County to move back home.  The three young, professionally employed grads are the first recipients of the “Come Home” program through the community foundation’s innovative Reverse Scholarship.

The three recipients, currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina; Birmingham, Michigan; and Croswell, Michigan, will each receive $10,000 in payments towards their student debt. The payments will begin once each recipient has moved back to St. Clair County, and each is required to maintain their employment within the county.

“These first three young professionals are exactly what we had in mind when we launched this program,” said Hale Walker, co-owner of Michigan Mutual and chair of the selection committee. “Each of these three young women are at a point in their lives when they want to move back home to begin the next phase of their lives and careers.”

Muray Darling is a veterinarian at North Carolina State University. Originally from Yale, Michigan, and a graduate of Michigan State University, she’s eager to return to the Port Huron area. 

“I’m ecstatic about this award and so excited for the chance to move back home,” she said. 

Darling plans to return home in July of 2016.

Chelsea Beeler is a medical laboratory scientist at McLaren Port Huron Hospital, and currently lives in Birmingham, Michigan. With family ties to Port Huron, Beeler graduated from Michigan State University and spent time in Ann Arbor and Royal Oak.

“I’m so ready to move back home and be a part of the new energy and excitement in Port Huron,” she said. 

Erin Lamb, a speech pathologist at Lake Huron Medical Center, is the final recipient in the first round. She plans to get married in 2017 and buy a house out in the country.

“Growing student debt is such a problem for young professionals looking to get married and settle down,” she said.  “This new Come Home program is an incredibly innovative approach by the community foundation to help bring young professionals back home.”

Walker said the Come Home program of the foundation’s Reverse Scholarship efforts was a result of a larger regional recognition that the lack of college graduates is holding back economic growth and prosperity. 

“Through our economic development organizations, and our Blue Meets Green regional initiative, we know that our region must do more to attract motivated and ambitious college graduates back to St. Clair County,” Walker added. 

Randy Maiers, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, said, “With support of the Council of Michigan Foundations and other partnering community foundations in Michigan, we’re the first community foundation in America to implement this kind of program.  It’s essentially a back-end scholarship with a strong community prosperity focus and intent.”

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