Emerging Technology Ventures Inc. collaborates with Navajo Technical University, Navajo Tech Innovation Center, Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, and other project participants on Kellogg Foundation grant to spur entrepreneurial development and advanced manufacturing knowledge and skills across the Navajo Nation
CROWNPOINT, NM – Nationally-recognized tribal college Navajo Technical University takes a leading step in education by collaborating with organizations statewide to provide future generations with technological tools to improve economic conditions across the Navajo Nation’s 27,000 square miles.
The Navajo Nation is one of the largest American Indian tribes in the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. According to the 2010 US Census, more than 40% of tribal members live below poverty and less than 10% possess a college degree.
“The role of this program removes poverty as an obstacle for our students and introduces a model capable of propelling Navajo Nation youth with potential to establish themselves in advanced technology industries,” said Ben Jones, Director at Navajo Tech Innovation Center.
The Advanced Rural Manufacturing (A.R.M.) is a partnership stimulating the Navajo economy with technological innovation that transcends spatial collaborative constraints to create Advanced Manufacturing virtual hubs to conduct business and discover new technologies. A.R.M. is a statewide collaboration of industry, academia, and government spanning the Navajo Nation Eastern/Northern Agencies and five county regions of McKinley, San Juan, Santa Fe, Dona Ana, and Otero. Representing a consortium of universities, incubators, and manufacturers serving diverse markets, A.R.M. partners include: Navajo Technical University-Navajo Tech Innovation Center (NTU-NTIC), NTU Center for Digital Technologies (NTU-CDT), New Mexico State University Arrowhead Center (NMSU-Arrowhead Center), Emerging Technology Ventures (ETV), and InXsol.
The collaboration between ETV and NMSU bring together industry and education in a research learning environment to discover, develop, and deploy new innovations, ultimately increasing interconnection, creating change and self-sustaining opportunities within Navajo.
Young children benefit from stable homes with an informed parental environment that provide seamless academic transitions from K-12 into college and eventually apply their own learned skills. Career pathways will be strengthened in a variety of contexts by engaging parents in a degree program with on-campus childcare and internship opportunities, involve high school students in dual credit programs, and possible business start-up.
Handling large federal contracts and starting a successful business in technology can be rigorous as it requires extensive education, experience and skills. This experience will greatly change for future students through a state-of-the-art educational opportunity that provides firsthand opportunities for exposure and preparation.
Zetdi Sloan, Arrowhead Technology Incubator Director at New Mexico State University, believes the program will be fruitful: “All of us have worked hard towards the same goal, and this collaboration will be impactful for students from K-12 all the way to graduates into successful business programs that enable more families to build their careers at home here in New Mexico.”
Nurturing a new generation of innovators, the A.R.M. partnership will give students an understanding of how technical advances in design, business and finance are made and brought to the marketplace. The partnership will create opportunity for the exchange of ideas, allowing new innovations to emerge as students become the actual innovators and drivers of change in their respective communities. Efforts to build this new technology-based business model will not only provide students with learning but will shape them into a workforce responsive to the growing demands of advancing manufacturing and technology industries. The program is designed to generate excitement and creativity in students and provide the experience of transforming an idea into a prototype of a product and protecting the new technology.
This innovative statewide collaboration is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, remaining true to its maxim A Partner With Communities Where Children Come First. The forum for the exchange of ideas will significantly improve NTU’s strategic approach in bringing new ideas, cultivating key networks that will extend to the refinement of the Navajo Tech Innovation Center’s outreach to the Navajo community and effectively provide opportunities.
NTU is committed to college readiness in strengthening the foundation of higher education integrating Dine’ cultural principles with an emphasis on technology, culinary arts and vocational tech grounding through research, community engagement, and service learning that perpetuates preservation and sustainability in the areas of social, economic, environmental, and cultural. For more information, visit www.navajotech.edu.