A private foundation says it will help pay down the student debt of some technology workers who settle in Maine.

The new Alfond Leaders program will provide up to $60,000 of student loan debt relief to 150 individuals selected from around the world.

The idea is to help Maine transition from traditional manufacturing and natural resource industries to the rapidly growing fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The program's open to Maine residents and soon-to-be residents who work in those fields and intend to live in the state for ten years.

The Harold Alfond Foundation says the quasi-independent state agency Finance Authority of Maine will administer the program.

GOP Gov. Paul LePage and members of Maine's congressional delegation said they've heard from many former students struggling with loan debt. -AUGUSTA, Maine (AP)