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Navajo Nation finalizes MOU with PNM for $500,000 scholarship commitment

WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, PNM Resources Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn, San Juan College President Dr. Toni Pendergrass, and Navajo Technical University Provost Dr. Colleen Bowman finalized a Memorandum of Understanding in Window Rock on Friday, to commit $500,000 in scholarship funds for Navajo students in the Four Corners area through the PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training Scholarship Program. 

The PNM Navajo Nation Workforce Training initiative was established in 2013 when PNM and the Navajo Nation partnered with Navajo Technical University and San Juan College, to develop and administer the program on behalf of PNM and 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.

President Nez said the additional scholarship funds will help to create a stronger Navajo workforce to advance the transition to renewable energy in the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. He also noted the Háyoołkááł Proclamation, which was issued by the Nez-Lizer Administration and calls for the Nation to prioritize renewable energy development.  

“The state of New Mexico has the Energy Transition Act that calls for the state to be 100-percent emissions free by 2040 and the Nation has the Háyoołkááł Proclamation that calls for more renewable energy development across the Navajo Nation. As these renewable energy projects move forward, we will need a stronger workforce,” said President Nez. “We are very thankful to PNM for their partnership and scholarship funds over the years.” 

PNM Resources Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn also spoke about energy transition and PNM’s continued commitment to awarding scholarships.

“In the transition of moving New Mexico forward together and becoming one hundred percent emissions-free by 2040, our continued partnership with the Navajo Nation continues to be a highly valued relationship,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM Resources chairman, president and CEO. “PNM is dedicated to the success of the Navajo workforce in the Four Corners area and today’s signing of this memorandum of understanding demonstrates that.” 

During the Nez-Lizer campaign, Vice President Lizer recalled that an overwhelming number of people wanted more focus and resources to be dedicated to education and students.

“With the signing, we’re fulfilling the will of the Navajo people. They called on us as candidates to provide more resources for students and that’s what this MOU does. It’s a great benefit for many students and for the Nation,” stated Vice President Lizer.  

During the ceremony, they also recognized two recent graduates Nicholas Clark, B.S. Electrical Engineering, Wynona Wilson, B.A. Informational Technology and Digital Manufacturing, and current student Anthony Benallie, B.S. Information Technology. 

To date, the scholarship program has awarded almost 700 scholarships and produced 337 Navajo graduates earning their trade certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. With the signing of the latest MOU, PNM will continue to work with Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, N.M. and San Juan College in Farmington, N.M. to administer the program on behalf of PNM and the Navajo Nation.

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