Best and Brightest program hoping to build the next version of Decatur

Best and Brightest program hoping to build the next version of Decatur

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Imagine a program that pays you to live in a town. That's what's happening in Decatur with the "Best and Brightest" program through the Decatur/Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center.

The idea is to attract young professional, college graduates with degrees in technology, engineering, science and math and keep them in the River City.

The program is under the direction of John Joseph, IV.  He says the initiative would pay $3,000 a year on student loans if that person lives in Decatur for up to 5 years.

"And the reason that we launched this is that we want to recruit talented young professionals from around the country to help us build the next version of Decatur," said John Joseph IV, Entrepreneurial Center Director.

Engineering graduate Max Beasley is busy working for a company and putting his passion of 3-dimensional design to work. Someday he hopes to be working at his own company.

"It's really given me a sense of ownership in the community and they want to give back and be a part of something bigger than myself," said Max Beasley, B & B student.

He says his participation in the "Best and Brightest" program has helped him tremendously.

"My mentor, he's taught me a lot about starting a business," said Beasley.

The Best and Brightest program is the first of its kind in the area and it comes under the umbrella of the Entrepreneurial Center in Decatur. The initiative is the brainchild of Executive Director John Joseph.

"Once you are admitted to the program, you get four primary benefits. The first is a student loan repayment up to $15,000. The second is mentoring from other leaders in the community.  You also get to be on a board of a cause you care about so that you are actually influencing the decisions and finally we help with employer networking," said Joseph.

Joseph says the classes meet not in a classroom but in dinner and other settings and students like Max can someday be the professional who helps other students.

For more information about this program, you can call the Entrepreneurial Center in Decatur, at 256-686-2999.

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