AmeriCorps Digital Service Fellows Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Our Mission

Now in its 21st year, the Digital Service Fellows (DSF) is an award-winning AmeriCorps program for recent Philadelphia high school graduates interested in information technology and serving their communities. The DSF program is part of the Urban Technology Project (UTP), which empowers communities through meaningful access to technology.  The DSF AmeriCorps program is an initiative of  the School District of Philadelphia in partnership with Communities In Schools of Philadelphia, Inc. 

Our Model

The AmeriCorps DSF program fulfills its mission to empower communities through a combination of technology apprenticeship and direct service.  As AmeriCorps Digital Service Fellows learn new technology skills, they pass on these skills to students, teachers, staff and other members of their communities.

Technology Pre-Apprenticeship

AmeriCorps DSFs serve in the School District for a full year under the direct mentoring of a Digital Literacy Teacher and learn most of their technology skills on the job. This model is a win-win for AmeriCorps members, mentors and for Philadelphia schools. AmeriCorps DSFs learn the ins and outs of digital literacy skills and technology support; mentors receive daily support in engaging students in the District's Digital Literacy & Technology curriculum.

The on-the-job training is supplemented with training toward I.T. industry certifications, which include:

* Dell Technician Certification
* Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT)
* CompTIA IT Fundamentals and additional certifications
* Google Apps for Education Certification

To prepare AmeriCorps DSFs for a successful transition into I.T. the program provides soft skills training as well.


  • $22,000 Annual Living Stipend
  • $6,895 Segal Education Award
  • Monthly SEPTA Pass
  • Use of Tools & Equipment
  • I.T. Certification Training & Exams
  • Healthcare Benefits
  • Educational Loan Forbearance

Service in Schools and Communities

AmeriCorps Digital Service Fellows work with their mentoring teacher to meet the below requirements:

  • 4-5 periods a day working directly with students
  • Up to 2 periods a day providing tech support
  • 1 period a day mentoring students (minimum of 12 students in a year)

What’s Next

After completing a year of service, AmeriCorps DSFs receive a $6,895.00 Segal Education Award that can be used for any accredited learning institution.  Outstanding AmeriCorps DSFs can apply for the Computer Support Specialist (CSS) Program, a PA Department of Labor registered I.T. Apprenticeship program within the Urban Technology Project. Many AmeriCorps DSFs go on to higher education institutions and/or find meaningful work in the tech field.

What our mentors are saying

As a mentee, Mr. Torres (AmeriCorps Digital Service Fellow) has set the bar so high. The benefit is 2-way. After a period of training Mr. Torres, I am now able to tell him to do this or that, and in most cases, he can go and resolve the problem. When I am teaching and explaining assignments to students, he goes around to assist students who are having difficulty understanding and helps them get their work done. How invaluable is that? We have discussions regarding his plans for next year. Mr. Torres plans to become a Visual Arts teacher, but I am attempting to convince him that he could major in Computer Science and become a Digital Literacy and Technology teacher and still incorporate Art in the curriculum. I am also encouraging him to look and apply for scholarships for which he is eligible. I told one of my co-workers that having AmeriCorps DSFs makes me feel like I could teach another 20 years.