PINE RIDGE, SD (KEVN) – A Pine Ridge non-profit organization was given a $1.5-million grant to train indigenous women in solar energy jobs.
Red Cloud Renewable on the Pine Ridge Reservation, is a training center for Native Americans to learn more about sustainable energy jobs. But John Red Cloud, Managing Director of Red Cloud Renewable, saw indigenous women had low participation numbers in the industry, so he worked on a plan to change that.
“I felt like there needed to be equal footing for women, so I studied the report from IREC. (Interstate Renewable Energy Council) It’s a 2020 census job report and I saw that across-the-board women have about a 27%, 28% participation level in solar and then I looked at the participation of Native Americans and it was 3%, Red Cloud said.
The grant was from President Joe Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda and was one of only 12 grants given. Red Cloud Renewable is using the grant to train indigenous women from all over the Midwest. The training center has dormitories for students to stay in and women who must travel to Pine Ridge are given a stipend for their expenses. They are also offering free childcare to mothers who want to be a part of the program.
That’s an amazing thing (being a mother) but it shouldn’t stand in the way of you pursuing a career. So that’s our program… is having onsite lodging, meals, we’re going to have cook, we’re going to have a cleaner, so the women can just focus on learning in the classroom, getting those hands-on skills and they don’t have to worry about ‘wow I wonder how my baby’s doing or I don’t know if they can afford childcare. You know, we’re trying to make it as easy as possible.”
The non-profit is building dome homes for the Pine Ridge community that run off solar power and the women will be installing solar panels on each of these homes. The women can also learn to build these domes.
The program is eight months of training in three-week intervals. If you are interested in donating or filling out an application, you can visit Red Cloud Renewable.
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