Katahdin Institute founder Steven Golieb announced he is looking for three business students to be the first recipients of the "Working Scholars Initiative."
The three students will start in the spring, earning a free bachelors degree by taking classes online.
The local community will donate money for the classes, that can then be used as credit at other colleges.
At the same time, the young entrepreneurs will start relationships with small business owners while still in school
"There's a strong history here," said Golieb, "where people have experienced what it's like to have success and be a close-knit community and basically are all in it together, and that's something I want to bring back."
Additionally, Golieb has plans to revitalize an old building in downtown Millinocket on Penobscot Avenue, by opening a new space for the Katahdin Institute.
"It's one of the biggest buildings downtown and I feel like revitalizing it and offering a path for the future for people here, especially the younger people, symbolizes new growth," said Golieb.
At this new facility, even more students can take classes in person, get connected with internships, and take online classes that minimize student debt.
Golieb said this would help ensure Millinocket's best and brightest young minds stay in the area.
"The answer to the economic issues here is to diversify and to focus a lot of our dollars locally so that they don't leave the town."
Golieb emphasized the value of a college education paired with learning practical skills from local businesses.
"Well a big thing is the hands-on experience;" said Golieb. "It's difficult as an employer to know if someone can do a task if it's something they haven't done before."
This is only the beginning. Applications for the "Working Scholars Program" will be accepted once a year.