Members and leadership at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Moorhead, Minnesota, realized that many immigrants living in and around the Fargo/Moorhead community have little or no computer knowledge. Some new immigrants moving in were repressed and uneducated in their homeland, for others, it has been a long time since they sat in a classroom. The congregation started an immigrant computer skills training program and were able to apply a Lutheran Church Extension Fund Minnesota North District outreach grant to help fund it.
It has been estimated “that almost eight percent of Fargo’s population is foreign born, largely refugees settled through Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, the only federally approved resettlement organization in the state.
In recent years, North Dakota has led the nation in per capita refugee resettlement. Far from the snow-white portrayal in the eponymous Coen brothers’ movie, Fargo is, in fact, a city of many colors.
People seeking asylum have been coming to the state since the 1940s. Previous groups hailed from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Bosnia. Today, they often come from Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” (“The Refugees of North Dakota,” Ingram, 2018.)
According to their grant application, participants in Our Redeemers’ first phase of the program are taught Introduction to Computer, MS-Office Package, creating email and how to use email services, how to face a job interview, and resume preparation among other lessons prepared. The first phase of the training was completed with an evaluation assessment exam. The training program has four instructors. After completing the assessment exams, students were given a break. During that time, training staff and the team from Our Redeemer work on developing plans for the second phase of the program.
Lutheran Church Extension Fund is blessed to help fund this outreach programming. If your Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod ministry is interested in a 2020 LCEF district outreach grant, online applications will be available here this September or ask your local district vice president.