Siksika Nation’s Blackfoot Tech Council has released that trainees of the Siksika First Nation’s IT Training Program had an opportunity to work on a large-scale Wi-Fi enterprise system, hosted by the Tech Council.

The participation was reported to have taken place, Aug. 8, with information being publicized, Nov. 1. The IT training program is an introduction to information technologies knowledge.

Trainees installed a wireless Wi-Fi solution which services the Sunpark Plaza building in Southeast Calgary, which is owned by Siksika Nation.

The building serves to house offices for the Siksika Chief and Council, as well as for Tribal Administrations. 

“It costs a lot of money to have systems like that put in place. Bringing more systems in-house is one of our goals at the Blackfoot Tech Council. It’s all about the capacity building,” said David Panther Bone, Blackfoot Tech Council co-founder and board chair.

“Empowering Siksika Nation members through the Blackfoot Tech Council IT training program is not just a choice; it’s a responsibility. Their success in this digital age is our collective achievement, and by supporting them, we pave the way for a brighter future for us all,” said Kendall Panther Bone, Siksika Nation councillor.

IT trainees were guided by Tech Council volunteers during the installation of the large-scale Wi-Fi enterprise system, which included frequency planning, pulling and dressing cable, mounting access points, and software programming.

The training course was designed to help those who are interested in IT to gain a better understanding of the field, and reinforce whether a trainee may wish to further pursue education or a career in IT.

Beyond the system installation, the IT training program is reported to have empowered Siksika Nation to manage the new Sunpark system, as well as the majority of its other IT and internet services. 

“By creating and supporting opportunities for people to gain and practice fundamental skills, they are equipped such that we no longer need to outsource this valuable work,” said Jennifer Kohlhammer, Blackfoot Tech Council co-founder and director. “It’s a grassroots initiative, by Siksika for Siksika, and it’s working – our trainees are equipped from start to finish to address the information technology needs and priorities of the community.”  

As of June 2023, 56 Siksika Nation community members, high school students, and Siksika IT specialists had completed IT Fundamentals and IT Core skills training programs to-date, in partnership with Computing Technology Industry Association, Braintoy, and InceptionU. 

Many of the students also reported to have completed practicum placements with Siksika Nation departments and partnering organizations for hands-on work experience. 

The current training program underway, which began Oct. 2, is scheduled for completion at the end of March.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 15, 2023 at 14:59

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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