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Carrington offers education funding program: Businesses and Job Development Authority partner to help pay for school in exchange for work

The Carrington Job Development Authority will offer a new program this fall to help bring students who earn a higher education degree back to the area, said James Linderman, economic developer for Carrington.

The program partners the JDA with local businesses to grant money to students for their education. In return, the student agrees to return to Carrington and work for that business for a set time after graduation.

“The typical scenario is a high school senior who gets help with further education and has a job waiting for them when they graduate,” Linderman said. “We’re not limiting this to high school seniors but anyone that wants an education. We want them to come back with a degree and this brings them back to Carrington to work.”

Linderman said many details of the program are left to the business and the student to work out. The JDA would match up to $3,000 invested by the business in the student’s education. It is up to the student and the business to negotiate how long he or she will work for the business and at what wages.

“Most businesses say it will take two years to get their money out of the program,” he said.

The program offers assistance in a number of fields including skilled trades such as construction and mechanical, education, nursing, culinary arts, agriculture, engineering, technology and business management. Students agree to participate in programs running a minimum of three- or nine-month internships.

“I think it’s great that local funds are being used as incentives to keep kids working in the area,” said Joan Copenhaver, guidance counselor at Carrington Public Schools. “There are not a lot of local funds available for that purpose.”

Copenhaver said the program will be presented first to businesses in the Carrington area and to students during a job fair in September.

“The business finds an individual that they would like to assist with schooling,” Linderman said. “It really will be the business that will be the driving factor in this.”

Linderman said the program includes safeguards for the business and the JDA. If the student doesn’t receive a degree, the grants become loans that the student is obligated to repay to the business and the JDA.

The JDA has budgeted $20,000 for matching grants during the year beginning Jan. 1, 2015, he said. The JDA applied for additional grants to possibly expand the funding available for the program.

“Our goal is to increase available labor and build the local workforce,” Linderman said. “This program should help bring our young people back after they graduate.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at