Hello! I'm your assigned expert, Nate! Such a great idea and has a lot of interesting areas of impact. Below are my responses based on my area of expertise and context. Many of these are super specific and I may not have the exact answers, so I apologize in advance.
1) Are return migrants willing to fund part of their participation? > I think this will be an important aspect to determine and figure into your business model here. I think you could definitely test this. To me, if there is a funded part of it, there would need to be a strong value that you'd need to give to them.
2) What other options besides CONOCER should we consider as an accrediting authority? > I don't have as much familiarity with this. I'd just question if you really do need an accrediting authority and see how people are thinking about participating and if accreditation is important here vs. any other factor before going too far down this path.
3) Should ERMIT be part of a college degree or could it be a stand-alone certification option to work as a public English school teacher? > Again, it really depends on knowing your target audience and getting really clear around what their needs are and therefore what may make sense. For example, do your typical participants know for sure they want to be teachers or do they need on-ramps to better understand and get exposure to it. Do they feel like they need to enroll in college programs to get the right jobs? What are job prospects after each of these paths? Do college graduates have better jobs vs. getting a certification?
4) What additional funding sources can support the development and/or implementation of ERMIT? > I do think it'll be important to have some strong revenue models tied to this vs. relying on outside funding. Part of this will be understanding really clearly what the problem is you're really targeting for what specific target user group and ensuring that there is a willingness to pay for you to solve that problem. It's a different type of model and is more about entrants to the US/ Canada, but World Education Services (WES) may be an interesting model to consider here.
5) What existing scholarships are there (e.g., support for returnees and/or for teacher certification)? > I'm not sure if I would go the scholarship route, but may think about grant funds and other government or outside funds may help. Could there be some partnerships with other companies that are seeking a pipeline of English-speakers that may want to partner with you and even pay for this training to get first access to this pool of candidates that could then be hired by them?
Hello! I'm your assigned expert, Nate. This is such an interesting idea and it's so great to hear how much success you've been having here. Here's my attempt to answer your questions from my background/context.
1) While we've had great success expanding our program in communities across the US, what unique challenges might there be in implementing the FaithAction ID program model in other countries? > Before even thinking about other countries, it'd be important to better dissect that were the success ingredients that make this work in the communities you've been part of in the US. I think that'll be key to determine what are the critical aspects that are necessary before you can implement this program in any other area. It's worth an exercise to essentially map out your key assumptions or things that all of your communities have in common when this program launched there. And probably, more importantly are there any counter-examples where the program was not as successful because certain criteria wasn't met. Things that I was thinking about include: 1) type of residents (illegal, migrants, etc.), 2) current relationship between residents and public sector, 3) receptivity of public sector, 4) faith community and relationship between residents and faith community, etc. These I think would be important factors. When you apply this to other countries, you'll need to layer on how the public sector functions and the importance of IDs and even faith organizations vs. others.
2) New programs often receive 500 participants at ID drives, which can require very long waits for participants. How could we make the process quicker and more efficient, while maintaining the integrity of the program? > Without fully knowing the behind the scenes process, I think there could be a few options here: 1) for larger communities, there could be a two part drive where the first part is equipping key community leaders with the ID and to become ambassadors to help out with a larger drive so you can essentially multiply the person-power to do this; 2) possibly use some type of technology to aid in the capture of information (although I'm not sure if this would actually be well received, so it'll have to be tested). Essentially, the key thing to focus on are what are your binding constraints or choke points in the process and then how to remove those or provide more capacity for those parts of the process.
3) Not every community may have the financial resources to ensure the integrity and sustainability of the program. What are some ways to make the program even more affordable? > Firstly, I think it'll be important to be clear around the cost it will take to pull off this program effectively and sustainably (non-profits and social sector organizations in some ways often hide the real costs of implementing a program to get buy-in/ funding, which doesn't do anyone a favor in the long-run). As hard as it may be to not implement this in communities that don't have the resources, I think it could be a even harder proposition to execute this in communities where there may not be resources. I would also suggest providing a few resources around how community groups can advocate and get more funding (e.g., collateral and resources to give pitches to community foundations, public sector groups, etc.). You may also want to consider a national type of partner that may fund some of this, such as Bloomberg Philanthropies or other city-focused groups (check out Mayors Challenge to see a few ideas that are similar that were done by other cities that could be interesting) to get funding, etc.
Hello! I'm your assigned expert, Nate! Such a great and impactful idea. I think your questions are spot on after reading this.
1. How to build a vibrant, cohesive, online community? Prospective & pilot students want to study in community, share resources, post questions to mentors, and form study groups, and to feel part of a community of like-minded advocates for immigrant justice. > This is going to be key to take it from static and very important trainings to making this a platform to facilitate organic online community. I think the key to an engaged community is 1) to create a one-stop shop for information, 2) create the right infrastructure to facilitate conversations, but open for it to feel organic, and 3) tangible tools for people to engage outside of the tool itself. I do think it'll be important to understand how users are interacting with each other and perhaps a low-fidelity test might be to set-up a free Slack platform with some dedicated open channels and perhaps other closed channels for subsets of your groups. Obviously you can build this out further to a be a larger effort but it may be good to see you can get the community to connect via Slack to engage before investing in something bigger.
2. How to scale the educational program without losing its teaching effectiveness? The need for advocates is huge, but immigrant allies need education so they can meaningfully help. At scale, VIISTA is a bridge that links two growing needs. > This is an important question and the key thing to better understand further is what scale looks like to you? Is it just around the educational resources or is it around the communities themselves or both? If it's the educational resources itself, then it will be finding the right intermediaries to help use the materials. If it includes the communities, then it'll be important to make sure that the scaling process keeps in mind the binding constraints of the community formation and that there's a feedback loop involved to take in input and evolve.
3. How best to evaluate the impact of the program, set goals, develop benchmarks & collect data? > I think the theory of change really needs to be spelled out a bit more. Is your key here to graduate immigration advocate representatives or is it to also create a community? I ask because understanding how impact will happen will be key and if you think you're going to help Immigrant Advocates actually deployed to help appropriately (which you can measure) or if it's more open and you'll have to rely on other networks or players to deploy them. Essentially are you more so certifying quality and creating a pipeline for other organizations or are you actually doing the training and deploying elements for IRs. Depending on your answer here, it'll change how you think about measurement, your goals, etc. It'll be important to articulate your key inputs/ actions (e.g., trainings) and how those lead to key outputs (e.g., X IRs graduating) and more importantly how those lead to outcomes (graduates then are able to more effectively help Y immigrants) and ultimately impact (Z immigrants are better advocated for leading to XYZ), Depending on your causal linkages here you may only be able to really focus on a few pieces and then need to rely on other partners to help you execute toward impact, which will affect how you measure your success and attribution.