Diné College Receives Prestigious Awards from Economic Development Administration to Propel Economic Growth Initiatives in Navajo Nation
11 December 2023
TSAILE, AZ — In a significant boost to its ongoing initiatives, Diné College has been granted two awards by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to conduct feasibility studies aimed at fostering economic growth within the Navajo Nation.
The first award, totaling $350,000, will facilitate an in-depth examination of the feasibility of establishing a new wool mill. This ambitious project aims to support preliminary activities that have already begun with the acquisition of a wool baler. The proposed wool mill holds great promise for wool producers within the Navajo Nation, offering them the opportunity to not only sell their wool but also have it processed right on the Navajo Nation itself. Currently, many individuals must sell wool outside the Navajo Nation, resulting in significantly reduced returns. A wool mill at Diné College would also complement the school’s weaving program under the Navajo Cultural Arts Program.
The second award of $386,000 will enable Diné College to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for the construction of a new technology transfer center. This endeavor was inspired by Oleksandr Makeyev, a faculty member at Diné College, who made history by securing a patent—a first for any Tribal College or University. This achievement sparked interest within Diné College to support the development of intellectual property and facilitate related small business and commercial development. To assess community interest in such a resource center, the college held a session in collaboration with the Dineh Chamber of Commerce. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with individuals and businesses across the Navajo Nation expressing a keen interest in a resource center that would assist them in securing rights to their intellectual property, encompassing patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
“As the Nation’s college, we are committed to finding solutions to some of the nagging problems facing the Navajo Nation. Economic Development is one of those challenges and Diné College’s innovative faculty and staff are seeking new ideas to address,” said Diné College President Charles Roessel.
These awards from the Economic Development Administration signify a significant step forward in Diné College’s commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity within the Navajo Nation. The feasibility studies for the wool mill and technology transfer center are poised to pave the way for innovative opportunities that will benefit the entire community, empower local entrepreneurs, and contribute to the economic sustainability of the region.
“ EDA is excited to have this new and continuing partnership with Dine College and support these two projects that will enhance economic opportunities for the Navajo Nation” Jeff Hays, Economic Development Representative Arizona.
Diné College is eager to embark on these exciting projects, which hold immense potential to transform the economic landscape of the Navajo Nation and provide valuable resources for its people. This collaboration between Diné College and the Economic Development Administration reaffirms their dedication to enhancing opportunities and improving the quality of life for the Navajo Nation’s residents.