WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján have announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $1.3 million to Navajo Technical University (NTU) in Crownpoint, NM to build a Metrology and Materials Center (MMTC).
The MMTC will offer training for displaced energy sector workers to develop competitive skills for emerging industries including 3D metal printing, machining, robotics and advanced manufacturing. According to the EDA’s estimates, the effort is projected to attract $15 million in private investment.
“I’m proud that NTU is investing in training students and workers on Navajo Nation for high-tech jobs in the industries of the future,” Udall said. “This funding will help bolster workforce development efforts, attract strong investment and diversify the regional and Tribal economy. Most importantly, it will generate new opportunities to cultivate and re-employ the talents and skills of displaced workers across New Mexico. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I’m committed to fighting for resources that will continue to spur job creation and build a pipeline for a diverse labor force to enter the 21st century economy, in Indian Country and across New Mexico.”
“I’m proud to welcome this funding to help Navajo Technical University train students and workers for jobs manufacturing advanced technologies and products,” Heinrich said. “As the Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee, I am focused on making forward-looking investments like this and targeting areas where we have the potential to diversify our economy, create jobs, and grow major new industries. By preparing our students and retraining our labor force for the jobs of the future, we can build pathways toward a more diverse future generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and create a sustainable and prosperous future for communities all across our state.”
“It’s important that the Navajo people have high-tech tools within their communities to train the next generation of workers,” Lújan said. “This funding will expand opportunities at Navajo Technical University, bringing quality education and federal education resources within reach for the Navajo Nation.”
The grant was funded under the EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which invests in regions experiencing adverse economic changes.