Utility extends aid for Navajo workforce scholarship program

Albuquerque, N.M. • New Mexico’s largest electric utility is making a $500,000 commitment to Navajo students in the Four Corners region to ensure they will continue to receive dedicated funding for future job opportunities.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico recently announced its pledge as the utility prepares to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. In operation for decades, the power plant and the coal mine that feeds it have employed many tribal members and have been among the region's economic drivers.

PNM Resources CEO and President Pat Vincent-Collawn says the utility values its relationship with the Navajo Nation as it moves toward renewable energy and emissions-free generation by 2040. She says PNM is still dedicated to the success of the Navajo workforce and the agreement to fund the scholarship program demonstrates that commitment.

The initial five-year agreement was signed in 2013, and PNM fulfilled a commitment of $1 million in scholarships during that time. With the new agreement, PNM shareholders will invest another $500,000 through 2025.

To date, the workforce training scholarship program has awarded almost 700 scholarships, with 337 Navajo graduates earning their trade certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.