In April, the Cherokee Strip Community Foundation (CSCF) announced the Work in Enid Award to attract talent to Enid to fill the more than 400 available jobs. With an unemployment rate of 2.7%, Enid has more job openings than job seekers. The Work in Enid Award is designed to recruit new employees to the community by offering to pay up to $10,000 in student loan debt for new residents who fill a job in Enid. The selection committee has named the first two recipients of the Award.  Elizabeth Bullard and Holly Romero will each be awarded $10,000 toward student loan relief over the next two years.

Elizabeth Bullard is a new dental hygienist at Healthy Smiles in Enid. Elizabeth comes from a military family who moved to Enid in the seventh grade. After finishing her undergrad at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, she completed the dental hygienist program at the University of Oklahoma. After graduating, Elizabeth had to decide between taking a position in Bartlesville or coming home to Enid. “As a single mom, moving back to Enid was an easy decision, said Bullard. My parents and friends live in Enid and moving back was ideal for my son and me.” Bullard learned about the award during her job interview. “I wasn’t sure if I would get the award, but I am very grateful, said Bullard. Being a single mother and having the expenses of attending dental hygiene school, this award takes a weight off my shoulder. I will be able to use funds I would have allocated for loan repayment to help provide more opportunities for my son, who is starting Pre-K.”

Holly Romero moved to Enid and started her new role as a speech-language pathologist at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in June. Originally from Northern California, Romero completed her master’s degree at the University of Central Oklahoma. After completing her degree, Holly moved home to California, but was always looking for an opportunity to move back to Oklahoma. “After I completed my master’s degree, I moved back to California to stay with my parents and begin working on paying off my student loans. I chose to attend UCO because they have one of the best programs in the country for my degree. Since I was from California, I paid out-of-state tuition, increasing the student loans I took on. My position at St. Mary’s allows me to do what I always wanted, by working in the medical field.” Holly has been pleasantly surprised by what she’s found in Enid. “While Enid is smaller than my hometown, it fits me. I love to explore and be involved. I am continually finding new things to see and do.” The award is also putting Holly ahead of the game financially. “One of the biggest things this award will do is help me achieve homeownership. Not having to worry about student loans and mortgage payments will be beneficial and relieve stress.”

The selection committee members were impressed with these two applicants and felt their situations embodied the spirit of the award. Holly moved here from California to work for St Mary’s, and Elizabeth chose to move back to Enid after achieving her dental hygienist certification. They are also very active in the community and are focused on giving back. We are happy they chose Enid to live and work and are excited about their futures as a part of our community.

The CSCF continues to accept and review applications as they are submitted. More information about the award and the application can be found at Any individuals or companies interested in contributing to the Work in Enid Award fund can contact the Cherokee Strip Community Foundation at 580.234.3988.