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Siksika Nation, Alberta, Nov. 01, 2023 — On August 8th, 2023 trainees of Siksika First Nation’s IT Training Program had the opportunity to do some hands-on installation work on a large scale Wi-Fi enterprise system. Hosted by Siksika’s Blackfoot Tech Council, the IT Training Program is an introduction to information technologies (IT) knowledge. Grounded in their newfound skills, BTC trainees installed a wireless Wi-Fi solution to service the Sunpark Plaza building in southeast Calgary. The building is owned by the Siksika Nation, and houses offices for the Nation’s Chief and Members of Council, and Tribal Administration.
Guided by the Blackfoot Tech Council’s volunteer members, the IT trainees programmed and installed a large scale Wi-Fi enterprise system; this included frequency planning, pulling and dressing cable, mounting access points, and software programming. The team ensured that access points were strategically placed around the facility to provide optimal coverage and signal strength. Beyond this installation, the IT training program has empowered Siksika Nation to manage the new Sunpark system, as well as the majority of its other IT and internet services, in-house ongoing by skilled Siksika Nation members.
Unlike home and small office Wi-Fi setups, which are relatively simple and may consist of a single wireless router, Wi-Fi enterprise systems are designed to provide reliable, high-performance wireless connectivity for organizations with larger and more complex networking needs.
“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.”
~ Kendall Panther Bone, Siksika Nation Councillor
“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”.
~ David Panther Bone, Blackfoot Tech Council Co-Founder and Board Chair
About the IT Training Program
The Siksika Nation training program is an introduction to basic information technologies (IT) knowledge and skills. The course helps those who are interested in IT gain a better understanding of the field, and reinforces whether someone might want to pursue further education or a career in IT. Trainees learn, and become certified in a wide range of skills, including IT concepts & terminology, infrastructure, applications & software, software development, critical thinking, database fundamentals, security, AI and machine learning, systems thinking, etc.
“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. 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.”
~ Jennifer Kohlhammer, Blackfoot Tech Council Co-Founder and Director
As of June 2023, fifty-six Siksika Nation community members, high school students, and Siksika IT specialists have completed IT Fundamentals and IT Core skills training programs to-date, in partnership with Computing Technology Industry Association (“CompTIA”), Braintoy, and InceptionU. Many of the students also completed practicum placements with Siksika Nation departments and partnering organizations for hands-on work experience. The current training program is now underway, having begun October 2nd and scheduled for completion at the end of March 2024.
“The successful WiFi network installation on an enterprise scale is testament to the high quality of instruction and hands-on skills building that learners receive in the Siksika First Nation’s IT Training Program. It is also a proof point for our belief that with the right mix of encouragement, opportunity and support, there is a place of anyone in the tech workforce.”
~ Nancy Hammervik, Chief Solutions Officer, CompTIA
“At Braintoy, we are honored to play a pivotal role in the empowerment of the Siksika Nation community members through our ML/AI program. We firmly believe that the integration of AI and machine learning principles into citizen development opens a world of possibilities. By working closely with the Siksika Nation, we aim to unlock the true potential of data-driven decision-making, equipping this vibrant community with the tools to better serve its members and enhance their technological expertise. We’re excited about the impact our collaboration will have now and for generations to come.”
~ Kwame Aseidu, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Braintoy
“InceptionU is so honoured to be in partnership with the Blackfoot Tech Council in this incredible initiative. In providing the opportunity for members of Siksika Nation to equip themselves with the human skills that won’t be replaced by technology, participants are building the capacity to identify, understand and ultimately solve complex challenges while generating opportunities for themselves and the community now and into the future.”
~ Margo Purcell, CEO and CoFounder, InceptionU
About the Blackfoot Tech Council:
The Blackfoot Tech Council is comprised of Siksika Nation’s technical specialists, the majority of whom are Siksika Nation members themselves, with participation from Siksika’s political, commercial, educational, health, cultural, and social services entities. The group came together with a shared conviction that a coordinated effort by Siksika for Siksika, reflective of deep community understanding, is essential for the creation of a healthy digital ecosystem that will allow Siksika to thrive. For more information about the volunteer group, visit https://blackfoottech.ca.
For information contact
Ryan Running Rabbit