Idaho National Laboratory Invests in FIELDS Education at the Shoshone-Bannock High School

Photo includes INL staff, Fort Hall Business Council, SBHS principal, Tribal DOE Director and FIELDS President. Submitted photo courtesy of INL photographer, 2018.

Published March 17, 2018

FORT HALL INDIAN RESERVATION – Last week, Battelle Energy Alliance, operator of Idaho National Laboratory (INL) of Idaho Falls presented a check for $10,000.00 to the Shoshone-Bannock Jr/Sr High School (Sho-Ban). The funds were made possible by the INL Informal STEM Grant towards the school’s new FIELDS program at Sho-Ban high school.  The Foundation for Indigenous Education, Leadership Development, and Sustainability (FIELDS), based in Pocatello, Idaho is supporting a trades, technology education, and life skills program for students at Sho-Ban.

“INL is proud of our strong partnership with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Sho-Ban. Over the past two years, INL has been collaborating with school faculty and the FIELDS program to grow opportunities for the Tribal youth to consider good paying jobs in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM related occupations,” said Anne Seifert, Executive Director of i-STEM and INL’s K-12 STEM Outreach Manager.  Sho-Ban has created and sustained a Skilled Workforce Development Program that is the result of a multi-year partnership between the School, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and FIELDS. With the intention to change minds and change lives of Native American youth and young adults in Fort Hall, FIELDS is engaging mentors and community collaborators to involve these young people in a series of intensive technical education, mentoring, and life skills programs.

“I’m speechless. This contribution will allow our students to do good things with their minds and hands,” Chairman Nathan Small stated.

“We appreciate INL for this contribution. I am a graduate of Sho-Ban high school and proud to see ongoing partnership with INL that will benefit our kids.” Vice Chairman, Darrell Shay also added, “This is a good investment to our school and kids, thank you,” Council member Lee Juan Tyler also stated,

According to Dr. Doyle Anderson (Cree), President and CEO of FIELDS, “These programs are designed to build a robust student pipeline into higher education and employment in the skilled workforce.  Our program has received strong support from faculty, staff, and school board at the school. The principal and superintendent of the school, Jonathan Braack, and his team have established a working environment within the school classrooms and a solid support system that is creating many new opportunities for all the students at the school.”

In the meeting between the Fort Hall Business Council and INL, it was discussed how INL has played a key role in helping to establish and enhance the FIELDS program.  The funds that were recently provided to Sho-Ban school will provide electrical, electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical equipment for the FIELDS technology education training center at the school. Dr. Anderson is a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation of Canada and has worked for over 20 years in Native American education and career engagement, including leading ongoing FIELDS youth and adult education and training projects in western Canada and the American Southwest. Anderson describes this as a bridge-building initiative. He further states, “FIELDS is working with the Shoshone-Bannock Jr. /Sr. High School, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and partners like Battelle Energy Alliance and Idaho National Laboratory to help connect Native American youth at the school to the Southeastern Idaho economy. I would like to thank the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes for supporting a multi-year investment in the initiative.”  Other local corporate supporters of the program include Arco Electric, Williams Pipeline, D.L. Evans Bank, and Intermountain Insurance Services. Future programs that are currently under consideration by Sho-Ban school and FIELDS include nursing and entrepreneurship.

The Sho-Ban school graduates their First Flight Mentor Training Program with a ceremony at Sho-Ban high school gym on Monday, March 26, 2018 at 1:30 pm. The keynote speaker at the ceremony is Howard Rainer, renowned Taos Pueblo education leader and creator of the First Flight Program.  Community members, parents, and family are invited to attend the ceremony.

According to Jonathan Braack, “With the support of partners like FIELDS and the U.S. Department of Energy, there is a critical mass of positive energy growing and the future looks bright for students at the Sho-Ban School. Through the hard work of our faculty, staff, administration, our school is continuing its tradition of academic and career engagement excellence.” To learn more about FIELDS, visit their website atwww.nativeselfreliance.org

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