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Looking Back on a Year of CTEP AmeriCorps

August 13, 2018

By Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva, CTEP Staff

Another year of CTEP AmeriCorps is wrapping up at SPNN. Summer teen tech camps are winding down, many of the Adult Basic Education sites are on break, the community media sites are planning their end-of-the summer film and media screenings, and the employment centers are transitioning out of a seasonal employment rush and looking towards the fall. Meanwhile, Joel and I are busy conducting exit interviews with our current members even as we prepare for the next cohort.  

It’s always a bittersweet time of the year. We are often so busy with program management and continuous program improvement that it’s hard for us to slow down and look back on what we accomplished. But I recently sat down with a cup of coffee in the SPNN atrium and took a few minutes to try to do just that, and, boy, it feels great to reflect on what CTEP members have done this year.  

This year members of the CTEP program:

  1. Taught and learned from 6,200 people in CTEP programming. Our members touched lot of people’s lives with technology, and had our lives touched by the perseverance, good humor, and hard work of many of the learners in our classes.
     
  2. Helped people get jobs, learn new technology skills, and volunteer. As of a couple of months ago, about a quarter of our participants received job placement training and, of those, 500 received a job. Nearly 1,200 people were certified in a new technology skill. We also mobilized 400 volunteers who clocked in about 9,000 hours of volunteering.
     
  3. Executed some amazing civic engagement projects. We couldn’t be more impressed. If you missed the presentations, have no fear. You can read about them, see the power point presentations, and check out any videos that you may have missed here.
     
  4. Trained hundreds of people in video and media making skills and screened dozens of participant-made films at our CTEP partner sites, and festivals like the Twin Cities youth Media Film youth film festival.
     
  5. Conducted an internal evaluation, to be released in the early fall, with the help of the formidable Kaitlyn Schmaltz and Dan Bachman.
     
  6. Co-hosted six Fix-It Tech clinics at CTEP Host sites throughout the year where volunteers fixed tablets and computers for particiapnts at no cost.
     
  7. Wrote a grant and received support from the Otto Bremmer Foundation, which will give us the brain space to implement some changes and continue programming.
     
  8. Conducted member trainings at more than a dozen host sites and heard from dozens of site supervisors, community leaders and trainers; ate a LOT of great food mostly from local vendors; and through this built a community within CTEP of an especially kind cohort of change-makers.  
     
  9. Helped ABE sites transition to new online “distance learning” platforms like Moby Max. CTEP doesn’t track the number of hours that students spent on these distance learning platform, but our sites do, and anecdotally I can tell you it’s a LOT! A group of CTEP members will be talking about this and more at the ABE Summer Institute.
     
  10. Recruited what promises to be a really awesome 2018-2019 cohort with a diverse set of ages and experience for next year’s positions. There are still four slots open, so help spread the word about our positions at HIRED, MN Computers for Schools, Ramsey County WorkForce Development Center, and Saint Paul Public Library-Central.

Well, enough of reflection, and on to celebration! Joel and Martin and I are looking forward to celebrating with our cohort of CTEP members and supervisors with cake and lawn games this Friday before we wrap it up, and do get ready to do it all again in September.