Over the next three years, L3Harris will sponsor 18 winter and summer camps offered at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and in First Nations Communities throughout Saskatchewan, Canada.
The camps, known as the "L3Harris Indigenous Dreamers and Doers Innovation Camps", were created to support Indigenous youth engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, trades, innovation and entrepreneurship.
SIIT is a First Nations-governed educational institution located in Saskatchewan, Canada, with a provincial footprint of three campuses, nine career training centres, two mobile job connection units, and over thirty community-based learning sites. As one of four educational institutions with credit granting authority in the province of Saskatchewan, SIIT offers a variety of certificate and diploma programs in the areas of trades and industrial, business and technology, health and community studies, and adult basic education.
Indigenous learners are at the core of SIIT, representing over 95% of the student body.
"We are proud to support SIIT with this innovative program aimed at promoting and fostering continuing education among the Indigenous peoples," said Ugo Paniconi, General Manager, MAS, L3Harris. "We hope this experience helps the camp participants build confidence and skills, and that it encourages them to pursue their dreams."
SIIT’s Pawacikewikamik Indigenous Innovation Accelerator develops programs and services that help create a cultural shift around entrepreneurship and innovation. Their goal is to move the dial on Indigenous high school participation and graduation rates, and to inspire the next generation of Indigenous innovators and entrepreneurs. The L3Harris camps are a part of the Pawacikewikamik initiative.
Stewart Downing, Human Resource Manager at L3Harris, and Joe Gazale, Business Development Manager, travelled to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan last summer to attend the first "Indigenous Dreamers and Doers Innovation Camp", focused on Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. Participants aged 10-17 were introduced to aviation maintenance, flew SIIT’s aircraft simulator, and worked on a Robinson helicopter.
As part of the camp syllabus, the students learned basic sheet metal skills by building a sheet metal toolbox that required them to follow fabrication instructions, read the drawing, cut, bend and rivet the metal together.