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Project Name: Multi-Sector Solar Career Training Initiative for Native Americans and Veterans
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Blue Lake, CA
DOE Award Amount: $600,000
Awardee Cost Share: N/A
Planned Timeline: 2019-2022

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project seeks to help Native Americans and Native American veterans get solar industry jobs. Unemployment rates for Native Americans are about 20% higher than national and regional averages. This project will help lower the unemployment rate within these communities while strengthening the solar workforce.

Trainees install a solar panel on a ground-mounted array at the Navajo Technical University in Ojo Encino, New Mexico.
Trainees install a solar panel on a ground-mounted array at the Navajo Technical University in Ojo Encino, New Mexico. Photo by GRID Alternatives.

APPROACH

Blue Lake Rancheria, recognized as a tribal leader in renewable energy, is partnering with the solar nonprofit GRID Alternatives to provide comprehensive hands-on job training for Native Americans with solar installations on tribal lands. The project team will explore and identify the best ways to implement job-training initiatives in Native American communities, filling the void left by traditional outreach methods. The team will give workshops on solar project development to tribal staff and leadership to help them plan, fund, and manage solar installations on tribal land, leading to job creation. Trainees will be offered solar job-seeking and job-placement assistance.

INNOVATION

This initiative will identify challenges to participation in workforce development among Native American tribal communities and organizations and develop strategies to overcome them. The project invites feedback and will adapt accordingly to continually fine-tune outreach methods. Coordinating trainings with solar installations on tribal lands will increase participation and buy-in from affected communities.