San Juan College receives $1.4 million POWER Grant

Thanks to a $1.4 million grant provided by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), San Juan College will have additional funding to help promote job creation and economic diversification in the region.

The Four Corners Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s EDA, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission. 

The FC-POWER-I grant supports San Juan College in partnering with industry and community leaders to provide transitional employment for displaced coal and energy workers. The funds will be utilized to bring together a coalition of economic developers and industry leaders to help workers affected by the loss of jobs in the coal industry to cross train and retrain for new jobs in information technology, health care and other energy sectors.

The POWER Initiative involves three phases. The first will include research and strategic planning, which will be conducted by the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (NWNMCOG). In conjunction with funding received by San Juan College, an additional $327,300 grant was also awarded to NWNMCOG to analyze current economic development that has taken place over the last decade. The council also will research alternative opportunities in northwest New Mexico to continue coal activity.

Phase two will involve San Juan College working with educational and industry partners to develop paid internships, apprenticeships and other on-the-job learning opportunities to help displaced workers re-career.

Phase three will focus on economic diversification. Following recommendations made in phase one, grant funding will be used to promote entrepreneurships in high-growth business sectors in health care, information technology and growth areas in the energy sector.  

“We are excited about the opportunities that that this grant will provide our community as we partner to enhance economic development,” says Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, President of San Juan College. “While the energy industry faces many challenges at this time, we at San Juan College are prepared to help displaced workers learn new skills so they can continue to support their families and our local economy.”

San Juan College will host a formal press conference at later date, which will include input and comments from industry partners and other officials.