Trainings & Events

Upcoming Events By The Democracy at Work Institute:

The Conversion Model: Realizing the Power of Shared Ownership to Build a Better Economy
Monday, April 11, 2016
8am - 4:30pm CT  

Register today for The Conversion Model: Realizing the Power of Shared Ownership to Build a Better Economy! On April 11, Workers to Owners will convene leaders from around the country to learn how to build a fairer and more inclusive economy through converting existing businesses to worker ownership. This one-day educational seminar will provide effective practices for guiding a company through the conversion process, offer tools and templates, discuss the benefits and impact of conversion to worker ownership, and troubleshoot challenges being faced by existing providers. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, network with fellow practitioners, and move the needle toward a strong and growing worker-owned economy. This event is a pre-conference session to the National Center for Employee Ownership's Employee Ownership Conference.

Worker Cooperative National Conference
July 29-31, 2016 | Austin, Texas

400+ inspired participants building a new economy based on shared ownership and real democracy. Hundreds of democratic workplaces in all stages, from concept, to conversion, to growth. The U.S.'s leading lenders, funders, educators and advocacy organizations supporting the cooperative economy. International guests bringing their wisdom and perspectives. And you!

We all need more opportunities to share ideas, tools and inspirations that will lead to creating a new economy. This biennial conference is just the place to re-energize our friendships, our collective work, and our mission to transform our communities. Most important, it brings us together to strengthen the relationships that will build the power and reach of the worker cooperative movement.

Registration opens in mid-February. In the meantime, take a look at our conference website for lots of information!

Upcoming Presentations & Trainings From The Democracy At Work Institute:

Loan Fund Board Goverance Training 
March 24 | 9 - 12:15pm PST  
Training 2| TBD

The training is an effort to support worker-owners and cooperative developers interested in a professional and leadership development opportunity, in particular becoming prepared to serve on the Board of a lending institution.

Even as the number of worker cooperative continues to grow, the access to capital remains one of the major hurdles for startups and growth-oriented cooperatives. At Democracy at Work Institute, we are interested in supporting worker-owners and cooperative developers to seek out positions on the Boards of lending institutions and build their capacity to be effective. One of the barriers to participating on Boards in general, but in particular of CDFIs and other lending institutions for many worker-owners and cooperative developers, has been the lack of experience and knowledge of board governance and financial management.

The training will cover the following topics:

What are CDFIs?
Board legal responsibilities
Basic financial literacy
How to skillfully and effectively participate on a Board

The full description of the training is attached and available here.

Apply & Questions
To apply, please complete the application by March 4th, 2016 at 5pm.
Please contact Vanessa Bransburg a vbransburg [at] for more information.

Worker Cooperative Startup Roadmap (free monthly online webinar)
July 2, 2015
12 - 1:30pm PST  | 3 - 4:30pm EST 

The Startup Roadmap webinar lays out the key steps in creating a sucessful worker cooperative startup, and introduces basic concepts that distinguish this model model. Participants will end the sessionwith a checklist of questions to ask and decisions to make which will guide their business development, and a list of business resources to help take the next steps.

Register HERE for this free webinar. 

Planning for Good Communication Webinar- 
July 7, 2015 
2-4pm PST , 3-5pm EST 

Communication is key to working together and making good decisions. This webinar is meant to help worker-owners unearth strategies and structures to promote intentional, robust communication throughout their workplace. You will hear how successful cooperatives support and encourage meaningful cooperative-wide participation, make information accessible, and educate their worker-owners to do their best work. Together as a group, we will identify what communication systems you already have and how to build off of that.

Register HERE for this webinar. 

Cost: $50 per registrant | $25 discounted registration for members of national cooperative associations (examples: USFWC, NCBA, NASCO). After registering, you will receive an email invoice with option to pay by check or online.

Presenter: Nicole “Nikki” Marín Baena

Understanding Your Industry for Growth - July 2015 (date & time tbd)
This webinar is designed to help worker-owners develop a framework for understanding and researching their industry through exploring the opportunities and risks facing their business. We will take a participatory approach to learning foundational industry topics and examine the five distinct forces acting on your cooperative*. Together we will map the larger ecosystem in which your cooperative operates, leaving you with a partial analysis of your industry to build on. Whether you are starting a new cooperative or enhancing your current business strategy to strengthen your competitive edge, this webinar will support you in making more informed and strategic business decisions. Click here to register. 

Presenter: Joe Marraffino 

See more upcoming cooperative movements events at the USFWC's Events Page

Selected Previous Events, Presentations and Trainings:

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem: Inclusive Economic Development in Action Webinar- January 29, 2016 

In this webinar, Democracy at Work Institute and Project Equity discussed approaches to generate new types of business ownership and creating ecosystems that support worker ownership on a broader scale.  The session covered opportunities and strategies to develop or expand networks for worker-owned businesses and advance economic progress for our communities.  Two of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, which are members of the Asset Building Policy Network, also discuss the implications of the worker ownership movement within their respective organizations and local affiliate networks. 
Online Webinar - Presented January 29, 2016
Materials and recording available here

Employee Ownership Conference: Worker Cooperatives in FocusApril 23 in Denver, CO.

This year, the Democracy at Work Institute is working with the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) to offer a day on worker cooperatives at the Employee Ownership Conference, including workshops and conversations on the uses and practices of worker cooperatives as well as developments in the field. Worker cooperative experts will address a range of topics relevant to the larger employee ownership field such as ownership transitions, policy initiatives, capital access, and employee education. (Learn more here.)

Transfor Finance Investor Network
Increasing Your Impact with Employee Ownership: A discussion on worker cooperatives, ESOPs, and other employee ownership forms for Impact Investors- December 17th, 2014

Andrea Armeni, CEO Transform Finance
Camille Kerr, Director of Field Building, DAWI
Loren Rodgers, Executive Director, NCEO

The Mid-Year Fellows Workshop in Honor of Louis O. Kelso

What Would It Take For Worker Cooperatives to Rapidly Develop in the United States and Are These Conditions Realistic? A Panel Discussion- January 11th, 2015
David Hammer, Executive Director, The ICA Group
Melissa Hoover, Executive Director, Democracy at Work Institute
Ariana Levinson, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
Christopher Michael, NYCNOWC
Erik Olsen, University of Missouri at Kansas City Department of Economics
Joyce Rothschild-Whitt, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University School of Public and International Affairs

Legal Tools for Worker Cooperatives and the Sharing Economy- February  5th and 6th from 9am-5pm in New York City.

Legal professionals, accountants, and community development organizations are invited to a two-day workshop on legal structures and strategies for cooperative development and sustainable local economies. This workshop will have a special emphasis on worker cooperatives, freelancer-owned cooperatives, land trusts, and alternative capital structures.

Impactful Grant Writing for Coop DevelopersOctober 14th, 2014 from 3pm-5:30pm,  in New York, NY. 

NYC Fall Worker Cooperative Training Weekend-Hosted by the Democracy at Work Institute and Democracy at Work NetworkOctober 24th-26th, 2014 in New York City 

How Young Farmers Can Use Cooperative Business Models to Build Successful Farms

Online Webinar - Presented Nov. 21st, 2013
Materials and recording available here

An Introduction To Worker Cooperatives for Farmers and Start-Ups

Online Webinar- Presented Jan.  30th, 2014

NASCO Institute 2013November 1-3, Ann Arbor, MI

Just Workplaces In Full Food Systems: The Role of Worker Cooperatives in Building Just Food Systems
Starting an Effective Worker Cooperative: Developing a Worker Co-op that Thrives and How (hopefully) Not to Get Stuck in Co-op Purgatory
Introduction to Community Wealth Building (Panel)

SOCAP 2013Social Capital Markets Conference, September 3-6, San Francisco, CA

Built to Last: Succession Planning for Impact Enterprises

Vermont Employee Ownership Center Conference 2013June 7th, Burlington, VT

From Employees to Owners: Developing Responsibility and Accountability in Worker Cooperatives
Going Co-op: Converting an Established Business into a Worker Cooperative
What Can ESOPs and Co-ops Learn from Each Other?

Designing and Conducting Effective Meetings Webinar- May 15th, 2015 
Have you ever attended a boring meeting? This webinar is designed to help worker-owners plan, execute and participate in smooth, effective and energizing meetings. We will introduce elements of effective meeting facilitation, exploring best practices in how to design, facilitate, and actively participate in a productive meeting. Throughout, participant experiences will guide our conversation around useful tools to improve meetings. You will take home tools and strategies to increase participation and make meetings more interesting. Click here to register. 


Presenters: Nicole “Nikki” Marín Baena