U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich recently announced that The University of New Mexico (UNM) will receive a $344,325 grant to provide training, licensing and induction services to Native Americans interested in pursuing a career in education. The grant, awarded through the Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education under the Indian Education Discretionary Grants Program, is designed to train more highly qualified Native American teachers and administrators to serve Indian student populations throughout New Mexico.  

"All of New Mexico's children deserve the best education we can provide, no matter where they live. But Native children often face a difficult path, and we must do everything we can to help them succeed. Recruiting and supporting Native American educators is one way we can ensure children in Tribal communities have good role models and a strong connection to their culture," Udall said. "This grant provides a path for prospective educators from Tribal communities who recognize the unique challenges Native American students face and want to return to teach. And I'm proud to support this funding as a member of the Senate Appropriations and Indian Affairs committees.

"Every student in New Mexico deserves a great teacher, one that honors their culture and identity," said Heinrich. "When students see themselves reflected in their teachers, it can make all the difference. This grant will help develop the next generation of Native educators who are devoted to preparing students for bright futures. I will continue to work with tribal communities to ensure that our students and schools in Indian Country thrive."

The grant is provided through the Department of Education Professional Development program and will last four years. With the funding, UNM will provide a collaborative and comprehensive degree program to 12 Native American participants who intend to pursue work in New Mexico public or Bureau of Indian Education schools. Ultimately, each participant will receive a teaching certification or a graduate degree in education administration, job placement assistance and one year of induction services after graduation.