April 17, 2015
Tribal Leaders, San Juan College and PNM Honor 46 Student Scholarship Recipients
Students funded through $1 million PNM Commitment
Farmington, N.M. ¿ Navajo Nation leaders and officials from San Juan College and PNM Resources recognized and honored this year's scholarship recipients of the PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Initiative last night at the Henderson Fine Arts Center at San Juan College in Farmington, NM. This year, San Juan College has 46 students that received scholarships and 14 of these students will become 2015 graduates.
"These students are the future of energy in New Mexico! Two years ago, PNM approached the Navajo Nation with a great idea to partner with regional colleges ¿ San Juan College and Navajo Technical University ¿ to prepare students for exciting careers in the energy industry," said Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly." I want to thank our partners at PNM and San Juan Generating Station for standing by the Navajo Nation and caring about our economic future after the closure of the two units in 2017."
PNM and the Navajo Nation joined forces with Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, NM and San Juan College in Farmington, NM to develop and administer the program in 2013. PNM is contributing $1 million dollars, distributed $200,000 annually over five years to Navajo student scholarship recipients. San Juan College receives $114,000; Navajo Technical University $77,000; and PNM American Indian Engineering Summer Intern Program $10,000. The program was created to help minimize the economic impact of complying with federal visibility standards that will result in the closure of two of the four units at San Juan Generating Station in 2017.
"Helping lay the foundation for a stronger New Mexico economy is important to us at PNM," said Ron Darnell, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, PNM. "An educated and trained workforce in the Four Corners area builds a strong economic base that empowers our communities to shape careers and be productive, here in New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation."
The program is designed to ensure that New Mexico and the Four Corners area have the trained workforce needed for existing and emerging jobs, and that members of the Navajo Nation are well positioned to meet the need. Last year in 2014, 124 Navajo students received funding through the program and 21 students earned their degrees.
"We are most grateful for the opportunities that PNM is providing to San Juan College students," said Gayle Dean, executive director of the San Juan College Foundation. "This financial assistance is truly changing lives and enriching the lives of not only our students, but their families as well."
At the reception last night each student received a PNM memory stick and graduating students were honored by First Lady Shelly who presented them with a Pendleton sash with the San Juan College and PNM logos. State Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage gave each student a certificate also honoring their efforts. Students last night talked about how the scholarships helped them in their academic efforts.
"Thanks to the PNM Navajo Nation Work Force Training Scholarship, I can continue to take classes and further my education. The scholarship has been a stepping stone for many goals I have set for myself and my family. I am thankful for the support PNM provides Native American students," Santana Chavez.
"I am a currently majoring in chemistry, and I will be graduating from San Juan College in spring 2015. I will be receiving an associate's degree in chemistry. After that, I will be transferring to New Mexico Tech to pursue a career in petroleum engineering. Because of your generous scholarship I am one step closer my goal," said Erick James.
"Thank you PNM for providing the Navajo Nation Workforce Training Scholarship, as it will help me further my education at San Juan College. This scholarship greatly benefited my family, and I was able to pay my bills. Furthermore, the scholarship made me realize that I am being helped by my Navajo people, help that has given me encouragement." said Kristen Wilson.
San Juan graduates honored last night receiving the PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Scholarship
With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving more than 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit PNM.com.