Public Spirit July 2012

What you’ll find in this month’s edition

  • AmeriCorps Member Spotlight Miles Johnson, CTEP
  • Before Anna’s VISTA year…
  • Resume Workshop Recap
  • Career Fair Recap

AmeriCorps Member Spotlight

Miles Johnson, CTEP
By Riley Lindberg

After getting a degree in Art History from Savannah College of Art and Design, Miles Johnson moved to Chicago, where he participated in the visual art scene. He was a founding member and writer for a website called Chicago Arts Archive, and he worked as a receptionist for a high-end hair salon. But Miles was looking for a career transition. After speaking with friends who served in AmeriCorps, Miles decided to apply for a position with CTEP.

CTEP stands for Community Technology Empowerment Project, and its mission is to bridge the “digital divide” for recent immigrants and low income communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. CTEP members help youth and adults use technology to better access social, civic, educational, and economic opportunities.

Serving in CTEP meant another big move for Miles, who serves at EMERGE Community Development in north Minneapolis; but he has had a very positive AmeriCorps experience so far.

“Serving with CTEP has been a big step in starting my career. I’ve learned a lot about how nonprofits operate, and a ton about Minnesota. The best part so far has been the camaraderie in the CTEP program. Everyone is super smart and so nice!”

During a typical day, Miles spends a lot of his service time helping people in the open lab at his site. He meets one on one with people who need help making a resume or applying for a
job online. Additionally, he updates EMERGE’s social media and helps teach a week long work readiness course called “Job Club.” Miles says CTEP serves an important role in his community.

“In the North Minneapolis community, which is home to five different service sites with five CTEP members, the impact is palpable. North Minneapolis lags behind most of the other parts of the city in computer literacy, and we constantly have an influx of people moving here from Chicago and other places who are lacking computer skills. For clients that don’t have a resume or are confused about job searching, CTEP members are an invaluable resource.”

While he is unsure about what he wants to do for a career, Miles is sure he will return for a second year of service with CTEP. And to anyone considering serving with AmeriCorps, Miles has this advice:

“Do it! Make friends, learn new things, and get some new experience to jazz up that resume!”
For more information about CTEP visit

Before Anna’s VISTA Year…

By Anna Preus, VISTA Leader with the Minnesota Literacy Council, 2012-13

When I signed on to do a year of VISTA service I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for.  I knew I’d be working at an alternative middle school in Minneapolis and I knew I’d be doing capacity building, but I didn’t know what that would actually look like.

Over the course of the year I ended up recruiting volunteers, starting a pilot program at the middle school and helping to plan a lot of field trips.  It’s hard to believe that the year is almost over, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the experience I had or more excited to be taking on a new role next year as a VISTA Leader with the Minnesota Literacy Council.

The decision to switch from being a VISTA member to a Leader wasn’t an easy one, especially since I gained so much from my first year of service. But it was because I learned so much that I was interested in the position as a VISTA Leader.  Throughout my year, the Minnesota Literacy Council has provided me with support, consistency and a ton of helpful trainings.

I’m excited to learn about what it takes to offer this kind of support to other VISTA members and to learn about a new type of capacity building.  I’ve had one great year of service with the AmeriCorps VISTA program and I can’t wait to get started on another.

Resume Workshop Recap

The Intercorps Council of Minnesota’s Training Education Committee hosted their final training of the 2011-2012 year with a focus on resume writing and skill building.  The training was led by Tamra Anderson, the Human Resources Director at Morrissey Inc. in Bloomington.  Tamra shared with the group strategies for building a skill-based resume and touched on how to best highlight National Service.  Along with resume building tips, training participants also received information regarding cover letters and best practices when writing them.

Those in attendance appreciated Tamra’s insight into the process.  AmeriCorps VISTA leader Allison Berth says “I really appreciated the opportunity to have my resume looked over by a human resources professional! I feel like I walked away from the session with a new perspective on the application process, and I feel more confident in my abilities to create an standout resume and cover letter.”

Career Fair Recap

On Wednesday, June 20th the Social and Networking Committee hosted the very first InterCorps Council Career and Opportunities fair for national service members and alumni. The event was held at the International Institute and was attended by 18 organizations and over 50 national service members! A wide variety of organizations were in attendance including graduate program, nonprofits with employment opportunities, and professional associations.One national service member that attended the fair said, “I enjoyed being able attend a career fair that was exclusively for service members.  It was refreshing to talk to employers that understood where we were coming from and our current situations.”

Special thanks goes to the International Institute of Minnesota and the Saint Paul VISTA Program for donating space and resources for the event.