Literacy Minnesota

Partner Agency: Literacy Minnesota
Location(s): 700 Raymond Avenue, Suite 180 Saint Paul, MN 55114
Site Supervisor: Therese Badenoch, Distance Learning Coordinator

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

The mission of the Literacy Minnesota is to share the power of learning through education, community building and advocacy. We envision literate communities in which all residents have full access to quality learning and service opportunities that will enable them to contribute and reach their full potential. Our core values are to:
- Promote the power of learning. We believe lifelong learning improves lives.
- Maximize human potential. We believe individuals maximize their potential through teaching, learning and community involvement.
- Energize communities. We believe building literacy skills creates productive and sustainable communities.
- Foster inclusion. We believe that being intentional in fostering diversity and inclusion is essential to rich collaboration and realizing our vision.
- Advance equality and justice. We believe that open access to educational opportunities creates more just and peaceful communities.
- Lead the way. We believe in providing pathways for groups and individuals to create meaningful change.

Literacy Minnesota employs 15 professional teachers and 508 trained volunteers across 6 sites, helping over 1800 adults per year master basic reading, prepare for and attain GEDs, improve English proficiency, build digital literacy and job skills and work towards citizenship. It has been our experience that most students who register for our English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED classes have limited experience with using computers. We have also found that there is a high demand for basic computer classes. The neighborhoods that house our learning centers have an average poverty rate of 22% and 28% of the population speak a language other than English at home.

Due to recent shifts in how Minnesota ABE is able to offer classes (largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic), we are seeing an increased need in the area of Distance Learning. In a state-wide survey of ABE educators, 52% of respondents indicated that students did not have the skills to use online distance education tools and 20% indicated that staff do not have the skills to implement distance education. Over the past few months it has become apparent that those students who are most likely to be unable to access distance learning are often students with lower English and digital literacy skills. This coming year especially, we estimate that the transition from the pandemic will require additional support around technology.

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

The CTEP member will be working primarily with adults, and employment-aged youth on occasion, to build digital literacy skills and capacity around distance learning. There will be a mix of native and non-native English speakers, though most will be in our ESL program. The CTEP will create and administer onboarding processes for distance learning, lead basic computer skills classes for Open Door students, and collaborate with the Literacy Minnesota and state-wide distance learning teams to build capacity for distance learning.

A CTEP who is bilingual in both English and Somali would be especially well-suited to serving individuals who attend classes through Open Door, as in 2019 Somali was the primary language of our students, and over 50% listed Somali as their primary language.

Site Environment

Literacy Minnesota manages six Open Door Learning Center locations throughout the Twin Cities. Due to COVID-19 it is possible that this position will be working partially remotely, with limited work done at our learning centers (likely one-on-one or very small group) and at our main office. Literacy Minnesota has a state-mandated COVID-19 emergency plan in place for reopening and will provide all protective equipment necessary (masks, gloves, disinfectant, etc.). However, our first priority is the safety of our staff, volunteers and learners and we are in no rush to reopen in a physical capacity until it is safe to do so.

We are hoping by Fall, 2021 we will be able to at least partially open our Learning Centers. At this point the CTEP will be stationed at our main office or the learning center of their choice, and will likely travel between learning centers as needed. We reimburse for mileage. All of our sites are on bus lines and close to public transport. It would benefit the CTEP to have a vehicle, but it is not necessary.

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, krogstad@spnn.org, 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.