Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly formalized an agreement Thursday afternoon with Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) that will provide Navajo Nation members with funding for workforce training at colleges in Crownpoint and Farmington.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly joined PNM Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn to sign a memo of understanding for the new job training initiative at Navajo Nation headquarters in Window Rock, Arizona.
The PNM-Navajo Nation Workforce Training Program is part of a $1 million commitment PNM made this year in recognition of the job impact related to its proposed 2017 closure of two of four units of San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. The two-unit closure is part of an agreement announced Feb. 15, 2013, that would allow San Juan to comply with a federal visibility rule. The $1 million would be paid in $200,000 installments over five years and would not be funded through rates.
“Working with PNM, our goal is to provide funding directly to Navajo students in fall 2013 at both Navajo Technical College and San Juan College. We need to invest in our Navajo people and I believe this is an important way to do that. When we invest in our people, they make the Navajo Nation stronger,” President Shelly said.
“PNM is committed to supporting the long-term economic health of the state and the Four Corners area in particular. We are extremely pleased with the collaborative process that has allowed us to craft a meaningful way to invest into job readiness for Navajo members,” Vincent-Collawn said. “The Navajo Nation has demonstrated that same spirit of cooperative collaboration in finding an effective path forward for San Juan to meet the regional haze rule.”
New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar said that when PNM first announced their proposal to shut down units at San Juan Generating Station, she asked that there be no lay off of workers.
“I said, I don’t want to see any lay off of workers. They work hard and we need to keep them working,” she said.
Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed yesterday, members of the Navajo Nation can qualify for $1,000 to $2,000 in funding per semester at Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint and San Juan College School of Energy in Farmington. The goal is to prepare Navajo members for jobs that are in demand and that are important to the Four Corners area and the Navajo Nation, so only certain certificates and associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs qualify.
Add One / PNM-Navajo Nation Workforce Training Program
The fall 2013 semester begins August 19; Navajo members who are 18 years of age or older are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Details on applying and certificates and degrees that qualify for funding can be found at PNM.com/Navajo. In addition, information on academic eligibility is at www.navajotech.edu/index.php/admissions or by calling (505) 786-4107 and at www.sanjuancollege.edu/energy or by calling (505) 327-5705.
Students who are currently enrolled and meet the eligibility requirements can contact the colleges and qualify for funding for the next semester.
The grants are intended to cover most and in some cases all of the tuition costs for the various degree and certification programs.