April 28, 2016
Tribal Leaders, Navajo Technical University, San Juan College and PNM honor student scholarship recipients
Students funded through $1 million PNM commitment
Crownpoint and Farmington N.M.: Speaker LoRenzo Bates, 23rd Navajo Nation Council, Navajo Technical University President Dr. Elmer Guy, San Juan College President Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass and PNM Senior Vice President of Public Policy Ron Darnell recognized and honored this year's scholarship recipients of the PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Initiative. Combining both schools for the current academic year, 114 scholarships were awarded, 32 Navajo students will complete certificates, 23 will graduate with associate degrees and five will complete their bachelor's degree.
"Education opens doors and improves the lives of families. It can lift individuals into rewarding careers, which benefits communities and helps make the world a better place," said Ron Darnell, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, PNM. "Helping lay the foundation for a stronger New Mexico and Navajo Nation economy is important to us at PNM."
The PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Initiative was established in 2013. PNM and the Navajo Nation joined forces with Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint and San Juan College in Farmington to develop and administer the program. PNM is contributing $1 million, 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. This program also minimizes 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. To date, 371 scholarships have been awarded to Navajo students through the program, 81 have completed certificates, 55 have completed associate degrees and 10 have completed bachelor degrees.
"The students graduating today represent the future of energy for the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico. Three years ago, PNM approached the Navajo Nation with a great initiative 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 Council Speaker Bates. "I want to thank our partners at PNM and San Juan Generating Station for standing by the Navajo Nation and assisting our Navajo students for jobs that will benefit our economic future."
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 trained to fill these positions. The PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Initiative is in the third year of a five year commitment. The program is designed to help students each semester and awards are for every semester.
Students from Navajo Technical University were honored at a recognition luncheon April 27, at the school's Wellness Center in Crownpoint, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation Reservation. Navajo Technical University students have benefited with approximately $231 thousand in scholarship money.
Since the program's inception, PNM has awarded 163 scholarships at Navajo Technical University. Eighteen students have earned certificates, 12 students have earned their associate degrees and 10 have graduated with their bachelor degrees.
Gerald R. Henry, a PNM scholarship recipient, is the first graduate from Navajo Technical University to receive a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Fayetta Clawson, another PNM scholarship recipient, is the first graduate from Navajo Technical University to receive a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the school.
"The partnership with PNM delivers much needed financial assistance to Navajo Technical University students who might not otherwise be able to attend class," said Dr. Elmer Guy, President of Navajo Technical University. "The program promotes their success and encourages them in their future careers."
Students from San Juan College were also honored at a recognition reception at the School of Energy in Farmington, New Mexico. San Juan College students have benefited with approximately $342 thousand in scholarship money.
Since the program's inception, PNM has awarded 208 scholarships at San Juan College. Sixty-three students have received certificates and 43 students have earned their associate degrees.
"San Juan College is proud of the long standing partnership with PNM," said Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, president of San Juan College. "Since 1973, PNM has supported our students, staff and programs. PNM's generosity has changed the lives of countless students and has contributed to a well trained workforce for our local businesses. From bricks and mortar to curriculum development and scholarships, PNM has been a part of our success every step of the way."
At the two events each student received a PNM portable universal cellphone/computer charger and graduating students were presented with a Pendleton scarf embroidered with their school's name and a PNM logo.
Students at both events talked about how the scholarships helped them in their academic efforts.
"The funding from the PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Initiative is what has kept me going," said Sandoval Begay, a student from Navajo Technical University who is earning a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering.
"It really helps. You know this is $2,000 a year for school and that large amount of money really helps," said Nathan Garnenez, a student from San Juan College. "I'm trying to earn a bachelor's degree in business and hope to have the PNM scholarship to meet my future goals."
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.