Northwest Indian College

Northwest Indian College

Northwest Indian College

Developing a Solar Energy Technical and Vocational Training Program for Indigenous Communities

Located at Lummi Nation in Washington State, 20 miles south of the Canadian border, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) is the only accredited Tribal College serving the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. NWIC has evolved from its beginnings in 1973 as a training program for technicians in aquaculture to an accredited college today with two- and four-year degree programs, including an expanding engineering curriculum and growing focus on renewable energy and energy sovereignty.

NWIC is partnering with Remote Energy and All Points North Foundation to conduct a new hands-on solar energy technical and vocational training program for students and local solar technicians with the goal of developing a renewable energy workforce among Indigenous communities. The program will include the construction of a “mock” roof on NWIC’s campus and the installation of a 2.4 kW grid direct solar energy system. The “mock” roof installation will, in turn, serve as the hands-on lab for a series of teacher-training courses and, ultimately, workshops and classes for engineering students and Tribal technicians interested in all aspects of solar installations and solar workplace protocols.

In addition, this new solar training program will be central to eventually expanding NWIC’s two-year pre-engineering curriculum into a four-year engineering degree program focused on renewable energy, including Smart Grid and Microgrid technologies − an effort that represents another important step toward the goal of achieving energy sovereignty at Lummi Nation.

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Photo credit: Northwest Indian College

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