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Diné College and Navajo Nation Enterprises Begin Talks of Future Partnerships

News & Events

August 29, 2013

Tsaile, AZ - Representatives from several Navajo Nation Enterprises were at Diné College on August 14, 2013 to discuss opportunities for students. Nathaniel Yazzie, CEO of the Navajo Nation Shopping Centers, Michelle Dotson, of Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE), Tom Arviso Jr., CEO of the Navajo Times, and Dwight Largie from the Office Vice President of the Navajo Nation were in attendance for the roundtable discussion. Diné College department Chairs provided information of their departments and how their curriculum can align with job opportunities for students at the enterprises. The discussions led to the proposed Business Bachelor of Arts program at Diné College.

“Our goal is to create opportunities for our students who complete their degree or certificate programs,” said Dean of Academics, Abraham Bitok “Partnerships with various Navajo Nation enterprises and businesses are the first steps in making these opportunities a reality, they will also give potential students an incentive to attend Diné College.”

The enterprise representatives discussed how classes at Diné College would benefit their organizations. Michelle Dotson of the NNGE said the classes for the new Bachelor of Arts degree would be useful for behind the scenes operations at NNGE.

“We want to work with Diné College and recruit students to help them achieve success with the gaming enterprise,” said Dotson. She stated NNGE targets Navajo people for employment at each of the four locations; currently 80% of their employees are Navajo.

Nathaniel Yazzie said the Navajo Nation Shopping Center has acquired land near the Twin Arrows Casino and plans are in progress for a future shopping center site. The Navajo Nation Shopping Centers have ten locations across the Navajo Nation and officials are looking forward to more discussions with Diné College.

Navajo Times CEO, Tom Arviso Jr. informed the group of what the newspaper would like to see from the College in terms of training and education. He suggested skills that are desirable for the paper included a journalist training to be a fluent Navajo speaker. Mr. Arviso also said it was important to have good quality employees and to retain them.

The College will soon be introducing a Bachelor of Arts degree in business that will focus on tribal management and economic development. The Business, Applied Science, Economic, & Technology (BASET) programs at Diné College offers Associate degrees and Certificates.

Diné College signed an MOU with Navajo Agriculture Products Industry (NAPI) this summer to enhance the skills of the current employees at NAPI and to recruit more students to seek employment there. The Irrigation Technician Certificate Program is a one-year program that provides scholarships and internships for students.