CTN’s digital literacy training programs over the past 12 years have a common denominator — reliance on both professional staff trainers and dedicated, trained volunteers to deliver programs in the communities we serve. Our Home Connect program, created in March as the pandemic began, built on that proven combination but took it further — seamlessly combining the talents of both paid and volunteer staff into a single training format created for older adult learners.
Each Home Connect learner receives an initial five hours of virtual introductory and basic instruction from a staff trainer. They are then transitioned to a volunteer digital coach, who delivers the rest of the lessons selected by the learner from among the Learning Pathways. When an interruption occurs within the staff-to-volunteer transition, it is usually due to a delay in identifying appropriate bilingual digital coaches — especially bilingual Spanish and Cantonese speakers. As a result, we have stepped up our bilingual digital coach recruitment efforts.
CTN addresses this need by posting our digital coach link on volunteer recruitment sites. Platforms such as Volunteer Match expand CTN’s recruitment nationwide and have brought us several coaches. Since we began this expanded search strategy in April, we have onboarded over 60 new digital coaches from nine states. In addition to California, which has the greatest number of coaches, our volunteers live in Washington, Utah, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.
Coupled with the flexible remote learning platform provided by Home Connect and our expanding train-the-trainer initiative, our new and diverse digital coach training corps is a wonderful addition to our training arsenal. These new points of contact dispersed across the country will serve as the catalyst for a robust expansion of our programming and influence. If you would like to support CTN in this exciting endeavor, please become a digital coach or a financial donor.