Building Relationships and Bridging Social Capital: An Inclusive Approach to Immigrant Civic Engagement

The Immigrant and Refugee Integration program area at CAL developed a self-contained and self-guided online volunteer training for community cultural brokers in Hartford, Connecticut. Designed to completed in concert with an in-class element, the online volunteer training was one aspect of a pilot project to enhance integration of immigrants into their communities through the use of local public libraries as integration hubs.

The three interactive content-based modules focused on the following:

  • Culturally competent mentoring and working with diverse groups
  • History, government, and prompting civic engagement
  • Accessing and making use of community, public, and social services, including rights and responsibilities in the United States

Training modules addressed key objectives through a variety of methods, including interactive learning activities, case studies and critical incidents, thought-provoking questions and considerations, descriptive illustrations, and external resources to consider. The modules test trainees on their knowledge gained through pre- and post-tests, and continues to be used by libraries today.