24th Navajo Nation Council
On October 1, Budget & Finance Chairman Jamie Henio, Alamo, Ramah, Tóhajiilee, joined Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Phase II expansion of the Rhino Health factory located in Church Rock, New Mexico. The forthcoming 100,000 square-foot facility will manufacture “Made in the Navajo Nation” nitrile gloves — necessary PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this pandemic.
“The Navajo people are deserving of good jobs that are located here on our homeland,” said Chair Jamie Henio. “This expansion is an investment for the Church Rock community. Speaker Damon and the Navajo Nation Council plan for more construction projects that will create jobs and uplift our economy during a pandemic. This groundbreaking is the first step.”
Back in October 2019, Speaker Seth Damon, Bááhaalí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tséyatoh, sponsored Legislation No. 0180-19 allocating 19,297,576 million dollars from the Síhasin Fund for the construction of the factory and employing over 350 Navajo people. The 24th Navajo Nation Council passed the bill with 19 in favor and 0 opposed.
“Job creation and the development of infrastructure projects on the Navajo Nation is a top priority. Especially when small businesses and companies locate these jobs in our communities,” said Speaker Seth Damon. “The expansion of the Church Rock factory is one of many other economic proposals that will jumpstart the Navajo economy and keep our people employed. We thank the Division of Economic Development and the Navajo Engineering & Construction Authority for their leadership.”
Phase II expansion will increase the production and distribution of nitrile latex gloves, with 100% percent Navajo labor to construct the facility.
“Over the last four years, we have called the Navajo Nation home. In the United States, it is estimated that 500 billion latex gloves are made in a year. In Church Rock alone, we manufacture around 7 million gloves in a month. That means the Navajo people will make 1.5 billion gloves over the next year. This state of the art facility will exponentially grow our production and transportation operations. It positions us to meet market demand for a Navajo product,” said Mark Lee, Rhino Health, LLC, CEO.
Síhasin Funds were invested for this project. The fund was created to provide financial support and financing for the planning and development of regional infrastructure projects. This includes the construction of housing, waterlines, solid waste management projects, transportation, and the installation of powerline and communication systems for the Navajo Nation.