MadWorC has created a class on starting a worker cooperative, which we taught for the first time in Spring 2023 through the Continuing & Professional Education department of Madison College. We’ve developed a curriculum that is practicum-based (so students will leave ready to start or convert a business) with support from the Cooperative Development Foundation.
Designed for trade school students, this class is appropriate for anyone interested in starting a worker cooperative or converting their business to a worker cooperative. We encourage people who are in similar trades or industries or even in the same business to take the class together, but we will help solo students work in small groups to develop a potential cooperative business for the practical element of the class. We will bring in guest speakers from local cooperatives and cooperative lenders, visit local worker cooperatives, engage in interactive activities, and build bylaws and business plans.
This class has two parts, which can be taken independently of each other.
The first is a 4-week session called "What is a worker cooperative and why would you start one?" which will discuss workers cooperatives in general, the history of cooperatives in Wisconsin, the worker cooperative model and how it benefits workers, and the global worker cooperative movement.
The second is an 8-week session called "Start a Worker Cooperative" and will be a hands-on class discussing all aspects of starting a worker cooperative in your trade or field. Participants will create all of the plans necessary for a real or imaginary worker cooperative, and will leave the class with the materials needed to start a worker cooperative.
Aren't sure if a worker cooperative is the right model for you?
Check out our Two Minute Trep Tip to learn more about worker cooperatives.
"What is a Worker Cooperative and why would you start one?" will be held in Spring 2024, from February 20th to March 12th, from 6pm-8pm, through Madison College's Professional and Continuing Education division. Registration is open now.
Interesting in bringing this class to your community?
As part of our agreement with the Cooperative Development Foundation, we will be publishing this curriculum so that others can implement it at their local trade schools. One the curriculum is published, we will have information here about how to obtain a copy and how to credit MadWorC when teaching it.
If you are in Madison and would like to bring MadWorC in to teach this class to people involved in your organization, please let us know and we can discuss the feasibility of that.