Community Computer Access Network (C-CAN)

St Paul, MN

While C-CAN,The Community Computer Access Network is no longer active, the Technology Literacy Collaborative has taken up the work of this important initiative.

Please visit the TLC website to find out about programs and projects in the Twin Cities (MN) that address Digital Inclusion.

Supported Projects

Volunteer Outreach and Computer Training

Carley Barber

Volunteer Recruitment

Direct Service to PACER Center

A special request came from the PACER center, the Parent Center that works with families of children and young adults from birth to age 22 with a full range of disabilities: physical, mental, learning, emotional, and attention deficit disorders. Carley was asked to provide ten hours, one-to-one support to David, an adult participant of the Pacer Center. Due to the nature of the request and David’s availability, Carley couldn’t link him with a volunteer, so she provided the service herself. Carley assessed David’s computer skills to develop a curriculum that would help him to obtain the basic knowledge he needed to obtain employment.

Accelerated Reader Software

Late 2003, Pillsbury United Communities acquired Accelerated Reader software to help students increase their reading skills. About 95% of the youths that attend Pillsbury Center programs have been assessed with reading skills below their academic grade. In most cases students are two grades below.

Waite House English as Second Language Classes

Our English teacher, John, got the support of Carley to develop an English/ Computer curriculum for our ESL learners. From January of 2004 year up to now, about 45 students have attended our computer classes. Several have developed computer skills

Summary of Accomplishments

• Seven Pillsbury United Communities Technology Centers have improved their infrastructure. Staff was trained to administer their technology Center
• Created a “help” manual for each center including a Universal set of computer lab rules
• Met with Technology Center administrators of each center, to assess individual needs and provide assistance when ever possible.
• Four volunteers have been recruited for Waite House
• Upcoming Web site design class for Pillsbury United Communities Technology Center administrators, so they can teach community members at their particular location. This class will be taught by corporate volunteers.
• Assisted in the creation of an additional lab, or “Business Center” for community members
• Created promotional materials.
• Attended UNCA conference, attended workshop on how to recruit volunteers from Volunteer Resource Center and will attend “Minnesota Trainers or Trainers on Adult Learning” seminar in April.

Volunteer Recruitment

Several community members were exposed to computers for the first time during our “open Business Center hours” on Wednesday from 11:00- 1:00 pm. Volunteer staff assisted those community members in discovering the world of technology and the advantages of becoming computer literate. About 80% of these new computer users were recruited from Waite House Community café. This Waite House service provides hot meal to low income, working families, and homeless people.

A similar strategy was implemented in the afternoons when people waited to be served by our food shelf staff. Every afternoon from 2:00-5:00 pm at least 20-25 people line up to be served. Carley met with interns from Hamline University to identify potential volunteers who could staff the Business Center during those hours. A Hamline student that wanted to improve her Spanish skills became interested in staffing the business center. She volunteered two hours every Monday from 3:00- 5:00 for ten weeks. Several seniors were provided service during those hours; their most frequent questions were about how to look for services in the Internet.

Direct Service

Carley and David met once a week, two hours for five weeks. David learned to navigate the Internet to do job search. He also signed up with an e-mail provider. He developed basic skills on the use of Microsoft Word. David also developed a resume and cover letter.

Accelerated Reader Software

Carley helped to teach youth workers the use of this software. According to our last quarter report, for September 30th, 2004, two hundred twenty youth are enrolled into the Accelerated Reader program and about 80% of them have advanced one or more reading levels. Waite House alone reports 55 youth enrolled into the program and about 80% of them are now reading at their expected grade level.

ESL Classes

Carley assisted the students to sign up with an e-mail provider. John, the teacher, sent assignments via e-mails. The students had to respond the same way. Students have developed skills in MS word, the Internet and a basic understanding of how computer works. At least 15 students, so far, have developed a medium level of proficiency on MS Words.

Thanks to Carley, Waite House English program obtained 15 on line licenses of Rosetta Stone English software for 2004-05. Carley took the initiative to search foundations and came across Rosetta’s foundation. The Market value of these 15 licenses is approximately $1,900.00. Thank you Carley.

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Heidi Marshall

AmeriCorps/ VISTA member Heidi Marshall finished development work on the C-CAN Volunteer Hub project as well as work on a new initiative: developing a “technical assessment” report that local CTCs might use as a model.

The Volunteer Hub project required finalizing the database of local CTCs, contracting them to review their data, and training them in use of the online volunteer database and volunteer opportunities directory ( In the course of this project, Heidi focused on recruitment of volunteers. To date, volunteers have been matched to 12 programs around the city, and several more are scheduled to come on board this coming fall of 2003.

In addition to recruiting and managing volunteers, Heidi has been very involved with local colleges and the University of Minnesota regarding placement of student interns within area CTCs. Heidi attended many meetings in the course of this project, and as a result, C-CAN was one of only a few, select non-profit organizations the U of Minnesota chose as partners for their community outreach program, a program that places undergraduates in social service agencies as part of course work.

This groundwork has helped us to develop a sustainable network of volunteers for local CTCs that will serve the community even after our AmeriCorps*VISTA members finish their service later this year.

Since February of 2003, Heidi has organized and facilitated two quarterly and one annual meeting for local CTCs, working with other national organizations to provide resources to our local CTC partners. As a result of her outreach work, 25 local CTC leaders and advocates, and a representative from CTC/national (Felicia Sullivan) made a presentation at our annual conference in September.

Heidi finished work with a local community agency (Pillsbury United Communities; see attached) to develop and implement a “technical assessment” project that will serve as a model for other organizations that have asked for assistance with assessments.

The success of Heidi’s service year has resulted in increased activity and the development of formal collaborations between partners, the public and our organization, and the development of a sustainable online volunteer matching service.

CTC Outreach

Jeff Streier

C-CAN is a network of partner CTCs that was designed to provide resources and assistance to each other: Jeff’s job has been to organize these CTCs and provide start-up resources to seed the development of this collaborative. The success of Jeff’s work has resulted in increased activity and the development of formal collaborations between partners, and Jeff will report on this activity in the coming months.

Goal 1: Help local CTCs build capacity and increase usership through increased volunteer recruitment and better staff management of volunteers.

Goal 2: Increase community participation at CTC networking activities and at workshops.

Goal 3: : Ensure that the work of the C-CAN will continue after the AmeriCorps*VISTA members leave.

Goal 1: The project has accomplished its major goals for 2002 already, in the recruitment of over 170 local volunteers for CTCs in our network and setting up CompuMentor volunteer management training for CTC staff.

Goal 2: Increased attendance at Quarterly meetings and annual conference from last years’ numbers, signed up 20+ attendees for CompuMentor training.

Goal 3: Working with members from local CTCs to encourage committee work and leadership within the C-CAN.

C-CAN’s AmeriCorps/ VISTA members have finished work on development of our main project: The Volunteer Hub. This project required finalizing the database of local CTCs, contracting them to review their data, and training them in use of the online volunteer database and volunteer opportunities directory

Jeff Streier has concentrated on working with organizations to prepare them for using the Hub, Heidi Marshall has focused on recruitment of volunteers. Both Members staffed a booth at the MN State Fair in late August of 2002 for 10 days.

In addition to work on the volunteer management and recruitment projects, both Members helped to organize the second annual Twin Cities Community Technology Conference, which attracted over 75 participants. The Mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Ryback, was on hand to deliver the keynote speech, and was so impressed by what the community is doing in terms of CTC activity that C-CAN was invited to a series of meetings at the Mayors’ Office.

These meetings have resulted in the development of a new Community Technology Task Force, featuring participation by local government, industry, and non-profit technology providers. The focus of this task force is to develop a City agenda for improving “Digital Opportunity” for residents of the City of Minneapolis. Another outcome of this partnership is that C-CAN and the City of Minneapolis have just submitted a proposal for a cluster of 25 new AmeriCorps members to serve in local CTC projects.

Transmission Project