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Department of Energy awards $1.5 million to South Dakota nonprofit

Entering Pine Ridge Sign
Marty G. Two Bulls Jr.
The Pine Ridge Village sign as you enter from the North.

The U.S. office of Solar Energy Technologies Office awarded $1.5 million to Red Cloud Renewable for promoting workforce equity.

Red Cloud Renewable is an organization focused on providing job training to Native American communities.

They offer three programs that give individuals the skills to find jobs in the weatherization, renewable energy, or sustainability building programs. The training itself takes place in the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

According to the U.S. Census, over 40 percent of the population of the Pine Ridge Reservation live below the national poverty line. John Red Cloud, the Managing Director for Red Cloud Renewable, said that is one of the motivators behind the nonprofits mission of work force development.

While the organization is open to all tribal communities, it currently works with 70. The organization’s plan for the grant received from the Department of Energy’s SETO is to make the training they offer more accessible.

“That money is going to provide travel, it’s going to provide tuition,” said Red Cloud, “It’s going to provide what we call wrap-around services for anywhere between 36 and 72 Native American women.”

Red Cloud says wrap-around services will include childcare, and the $1.5 million is budgeted out to be spent over a two-year period.

Zadya Abbott (she/her/hers) is a senior at the University of South Dakota studying Media and Journalism with a minor in Women and Gender Sexuality Studies. She is native to the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Zadya regards the journalism profession as one of noble service meant to objectively provide the public with information of interest.