The mission of the Democracy at Work Institute is to expand the worker cooperative model to reach communities most directly affected by social and economic inequality, specifically people of color, recent immigrants, and low-wage workforces. We are a movement-based think-and-do tank supporting worker cooperatives to grow to a scale that creates meaningful change in the economy.
The Institute brings a birds- eye view of the national stage and a hands-on understanding of cooperative business and its benefits, making sure that our growing worker cooperative movement is both rooted in worker cooperatives themselves and reaches new communities of worker-owners. Equal parts clearinghouse, relationship-builder, thought leader, organizing body and “developer’s developer,” we:
- Train cooperative developers and support professionals
- Recruit and support new partners to undertake cooperative development
- Facilitate education and skill-sharing among existing cooperatives
- Train and support worker-owners to lead their movement
- Do research to better understand and inform the field
- Develop tools and standards to make cooperative development more effective
- Build relationships among the various institutions supporting, developing and financing worker cooperatives
- Educate partners and the public about the need for and benefits of democratic worker-ownership
Drawing on our ongoing research and on-the-ground-knowledge of worker cooperative enterprises, we also consult with a variety of clients and partners:
- With worker cooperatives to help them develop, grow and replicate.
- With non-profit organizations to support the implementation of new cooperative programs, and to increase the impacts of existing programs.
- With conventional businesses to support them in succession planning & transition to cooperative ownership.
- With governments and economic developers to design and implement policies and programs that use worker cooperatives as a tool for equitable economic development.
With a growing number of people are locked out of good jobs and small business ownership opportunities, the Democracy at Work Institute supports worker ownership to be the superior business model for creating jobs with dignity, fair compensation, and opportunities for wealth and skillbuilding.