Grant County has two outstanding colleges that attract some of the best and brightest minds from across the region and country. The trick has always been keeping that talent here after graduation. We think the new Grant County Economic Growth Council and Affordable Housing Corporation’s partnership through the “Grants for Grads” program is a good start to addressing the problem.
The incentive offers graduates up to $5,000 to purchase a house or $2,500 for rent. Cost of living, especially in this economy, is one of the biggest factors that weighs on recent grads. Providing substantial housing assistance — the grant could cover almost half a year’s rent for a $500 per month apartment — is going to make Grant County even more attractive.
We all know that communities with higher amounts of adults with bachelor’s degrees generally have higher median incomes — and a larger, more educated workforce is one of the top attractions for businesses, which is good for everyone.
While the program is aimed at those who have moved to Grant County in the last three months or so, all college graduates are eligible. The first round of grants will be provided to up to 20 recipients. We hope future leaders of Grant County are among some of those who take advantage of the program. We think requiring recipients to join the Grant County Young Professionals Network will not only help inspire community involvement but it will also help young people with one of the biggest challenges they face in smaller communities such as Grant County — forming a social network with peers of a similar age.
While some officials, in doing their due diligence when looking into the program, expressed concerns about potential abuses, we have the utmost confidence in Affordable Housing’s ability to properly administer the program. We also must commend the Grant County Economic Growth Council for their outside-the-box thinking to a problem many communities face. Leaders often pay lip service to fighting “brain drain,” but few actually take tangible steps to try and put a stopper on it.