The Democracy at Work Network is a network of certified peer advisors who cooperate in training themselves and providing technical assistance services to worker cooperatives. Its basic goals are to:
- meet the demand for technical assistance and development advice with high-quality services,
- increase worker cooperative technical assistance capacity from inside the movement.
DAWN was created by a group of longtime worker-owners, in collaboration with the Institute, to meet several needs: training and leadership development for worker-owners, appropriate and useful peer technical assistance for our own cooperatives, and intervention in the field of cooperative development from a praxis-based perspective.
The DAWN project makes available successful models and hard-won wisdom to those starting cooperatives, including nonprofits, other cooperative developers, and groups of interested individuals. As importantly, the Democracy at Work Network strengthens existing cooperative businesses and builds capacity in our movement by providing professional development opportunities to worker cooperators, and an outlet and structure for their immense enthusiasm for sharing the cooperative model.
DAWN Peer Advisors across the country work with cooperatives in areas such as:
- Cooperative education
- Organizational capacity building
- Project Management and road-mapping for new and expanding cooperatives
- Strategic planning
- Cooperative governance and participatory management systems design and implementation
- Business consulting including financial planning, loan readiness and marketing support.
As Peer Advisors, DAWN members work with clients from a set of principals that focus on building the capacity of the cooperatives, equipping them to make their own decisions and bringing the learned experience of the cooperative movement to their work with their clients. DAWN is a fee-for-service organization; though it occasionally undertakes pro bono work, most of its advising work is paid for by clients and/or grants.
To become a certified Peer Advisor, selected individuals complete a yearlong training, including an internship and research project, and then pass a certification process led by their peers and experienced cooperative developers. Peer Advisors have strong personal and professional bonds that are formed during this training process and beyond.
DAWN also welcomes professional members who are drawn from the ranks of cooperative consultants and developers. Some of these professionals undergo the peer advisor training and certification process, learning from and providing insight to the worker/owners who serve as Peer Advisors. Others are longtime cooperative developers who join DAWN to collaborate with Peer Advisors. These professional members expand the capacity of DAWN and the Democracy At Work Institute to undertake larger projects.
For more information, to apply to be a Peer advisor, or to request technical assistance, please visit www.dawn.coop