Vietnamese Social Services
CTEP Program Description
The AmeriCorps Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) bridges the “digital divide” for new Immigrants and low-income communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Join AmeriCorps CTEP and help make the information age accessible to all. CTEP is a project of Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN).
Site History and Mission
Vietnamese Social Services, a nonprofit that was established in 1987 in St. Paul. We provide an interconnected set of programs designed to minimize disparities and help new immigrants navigate the complex process of seeking assistance while providing skills to help them achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.
Equity is the foundation of VSS’s mission. The principle that guides our programs – Education, Workforce Development, Family Stability, Civic Engagement, and Elder Services – is “Healthy & Thriving Community”. Each program is designed to serve individuals with significant barriers, most notably the lack of English language and American cultural skills, allowing them to be empowered to thrive on their journey as new Americans throughout different stages of one’s life. Our largest umbrella program is Education which includes: Adult Basic Education (to gain job skills and employment); Health & Wellness (to adapt healthy lifestyles while combatting chronic diseases); English Language Learners (to speak and read English); Civic Engagement (to engage in voting, the census, and citizenship).
Programmatically, VSS serves all ages. Since 1987, VSS has been serving the community of over 25,000 Vietnamese Americans in Minnesota. Since 2005, VSS has evolved into a settlement house that serves all refugees and immigrants, including Karen, Somali, and other East African immigrants and refugees. n Minnesota, no other organization is comprehensively serving Vietnamese and Karen refugees, except for VSS. Throughout our 30+ years of history, VSS has consistently been designated as one of the anchors in the nonprofit sector that reliably serves immigrants and refugees in Minnesota, particularly in the Metro area and the surrounding neighborhoods of St. Paul. In addition, our programs have reached beyond new Minnesotans, serving low income families. Each year, we reach nearly 4,500 program participants. All are residents of the 7-county metro area.
Preferred Site Schedule for Member
The expected weekly schedule of this position will total approximately 35 hours per week throughout the duration of the year. Some flexibility with scheduling is possible.
In addition, members attend professional development days with their fellow CTEP members to enhance service-readiness skills, personal attributes at the service site, and citizenship skills. These Corps days take place twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Fridays from 9 AM to 4 PM, and these trainings are mandatory. Members also attend statewide AmeriCorps events, such as the Martin Luther King Day celebration, and/or serve on the statewide InterCorps Council.
Specific Site Responsibilities
Digital literacy is critical for the success of VSS program participants. Though English is the first hurdle, in between starting beginning English and going for that first job, we have our basic computer classes. Computer skills also open doors for clients; the more computer skills gained, the better the employment prospects will be. In addition, our clients also want to succeed in their new home as citizens. Thus, they learn about civic rights and responsibilities as well as racial tolerance and multiculturalism – all of which are at VSS.
We are looking for a Member whose technology skills can be leveraged to help with digital literacy of our students. The students are mostly adults in our ABE program who are new Americans ranging in age from 20 - 65 with zero to little computer experience.
The Member will work under the supervision of the ED, though daily contact will include teachers, program staff, and students. The
• Create Digital Literacy curriculum, materials, pamphlet, packet, etc. in simple English
• Support onboarding of our new students into our Distance Learning Program, including internet usage, basic Microsoft Office skills, and Zoom and other online platforms to support workforce readiness
• Mentor and train VSS designated staff on providing long-term Digital Literary capacity at VSS
• Create a troubleshooting guide for common computer challenges for VSS
• Provide digital literacy training and troubleshooting support for various programs.
• Conduct all functions with culturally curios and sensitive intellect and empathy
The Member will meet in-person initially with a student to teach them basic computer skills, how to navigate our online learning platform and how to access and use Zoom. Subsequent engagement will be both virtually and in-person which will be guided by Covid-19 public health protocols.
VSS is on University Ave. right off of the Light Rail’s Green Line and is in walking distance from 16 and 83 bus routes.
We have a fully equipped computer lab. We have also provided lap-tops for our students, teachers, and employees in support of remote work. Though we are a small non-profit, the facility is fully owned by VSS. Our employees are closely-knitted, relying on each other to support the team’s work. We seek to build a team that has a shared-commitment for success of all team members. This is important for us because VSS services are holistic and interdependent. Also, with the demands of social services, our team needs the support of each other when all hands are needed to be on deck, ensuring that the unique needs of each client are supported by VSS.
VSS staff split their time between in-person and remote working hours. We have bi-lingual staff available to assist with language barriers. Though our building is a two story building, the majority of our classrooms and staff are located on the first floor to accommodate those with physical limitations. Staff currently use VSS distributed laptops for work duties.
VSS is fully in adherence to COVID work safety standards.
How to Apply
Apply online at my.americorps.gov and click on “Apply to Serve” (be sure to search for the “Community Technology Empowerment Project” or “CTEP” when asked to indicate what program you would like to send your application to). Contact: Joel Krogstad, email@example.com, 651.298.8918
We are committed to recruiting and engaging individuals without regard to disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Reasonable accommodations will be made upon request. Alternative formats of this document are also available.