UVU Recognized for Digital Literacy Efforts with Navajo Nation
By Erin Spurgeon
March 25, 2010
Utah Valley University, in conjunction with state leaders and the Navajo Nation, today was honored for its work in bringing education and career-focused resources together to benefit the people of the Navajo Nation. The award, called Champions of Digital Literacy, was presented by Certiport.
"The partnership between UVU and Certiport is a classic example of community engagement. The two entities have combined their expertise and resources to benefit the Navajo Nation and, thanks to the NSF grant, have been able to improve the lives of hundreds of people through education and training," said UVU Vice President for University Relations Val Hale. "We have been very pleased to be part of such a successful undertaking."
Hale, along with UVU assistant professor of digital media technology Thor Anderson and Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley received the award this morning in a ceremony at Certiport headquarters, amid supporters from the state and region.
As stated by Certiport spokespeople at the event, the benefit of the UVU-enabled program is in raising up the Navajo people to seek meaningful employment. Through the Certiport certification and UVU programs such as Turning Point and Skilled2Succeed, the Navajo people are trained to current and relevant digital literacy to enable them to secure IT jobs without having to leave the Navajo Nation. The graduates of this program have come to be called "Web Warriors."
UVU's Greg Jackson, director of grants and development, was instrumental in the successful implementation of the program for the Navajo Nation, writing the proposal that secured a prestigious National Science Foundation Grant for the effort.
Now the Skilled2Succeed program, which originated with a group of individuals in a UVU Turning Point Class that serves victims of domestic violence, has served more than 500 individuals and more than 75 from the Navajo Nations. Three of these individuals have gone on to teach computer classes at the college level and on the Navajo Nation. There are currently 15 certified Skilled2Succeed instructors through the UVU Turning Point program.
"This partnership with Certiport, UVU and Utah, combined with the knowledge of my people's wisdom, will provide a pattern of true opportunity and future sustainability," Shirley said of the program benefitting the Navajo Nation, which he governs.