Upcoming Events

Worker Cooperative Startup Roadmap (free monthly online webinar)

Webinars are scheduled for the first Friday of each month
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.

Sanctuary Workplaces Webinar
July 26, 2017 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (free webinar)

Immigrant-led worker cooperatives have been a successful tactic for migrant communities to build power, build wealth, and develop member-leaders. However, the recent political situation is a reminder that migrant workers and other communities remain vulnerable to injustice and disempowerment. This is a call to action to extend protection and safety to all communities facing harassment and persecution in the workplace, including all people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and people with disabilities. This session will define what expanding sanctuary means, how this strategy has been utilized over time to create safe and hate-free spaces for everyone, in particular, those being persecuted for their immigration status. We will share a new resource guide that has been recently launched by the USFWC and DAWI in collaboration with Urban Justice Center, where people can obtain information about their rights as worker-owners within the workplace and as individuals/families

Las cooperativas de trabajadores dirigidas por inmigrantes han sido una táctica exitosa para que las comunidades migrantes puedan construir poder, riqueza y desarrollen liderazgo. Sin embargo, la reciente situación política es un recordatorio de que los trabajadores migrantes y otras comunidades siguen siendo vulnerables a la injusticia ya la falta de poder. Este es un llamado a la acción para extender la protección y seguridad a todas las comunidades que enfrentan acoso y persecución en el lugar de trabajo, incluyendo a todas las personas de color, inmigrantes, musulmanes y personas con discapacidades. Este webinar definirá lo que significa la expansión del santuario, como esta estrategia se ha utilizado a lo largo del tiempo para crear espacios seguros y sin odio para todos, en particular los perseguidos por su estatus migratorio. Compartiremos una nueva guía de recursos que ha sido recientemente lanzada por el USFWC y DAWI en colaboración con el Centro de Justicia Urbana, donde la gente puede obtener información sobre sus derechos como trabajadores-propietarios dentro del lugar de trabajadores-propietarios dentro del lugar de trabajo y como individuos/familias.

September 14-16, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA
Worker cooperators, unions, developers, allies, funders, investors, and visionaries — join us this September! This moment in U.S. history is pivotal — we are taking this opportunity to catalyze workers across the country, joining with the larger cooperative and economic justice movements to create and maintain stable, empowering jobs through employee ownership. This three day conference in Los Angeles, California will make space for connection, education, skill-building, and sharing, for worker-owners and allied leaders who work to improve the lives of workers and their families. Stay tuned for more information about sessions and registration, coming in January 2018.

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


Past Events

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.

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

Past Presentations & Trainings:

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

Topics covered in the training:

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

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem: Inclusive Economic Development in Action Webinar
January 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. Materials and recording available here

Planning for Good Communication Webinar
July 7, 2015
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. Presenter: Nicole “Nikki” Marín Baena

Understanding Your Industry for Growth 
July 2015
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. Presenter: Joe Marraffino 

Employee Ownership Conference: Worker Cooperatives in Focus 
April 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
December 17th, 2014
Increasing Your Impact with Employee Ownership: A discussion on worker cooperatives, ESOPs, and other employee ownership forms for Impact Investors with:

  • 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
January 11th, 2015
What Would It Take For Worker Cooperatives to Rapidly Develop in the United States and Are These Conditions Realistic? A Panel Discussion with:

  • 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 Developers
October 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 Network
October 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 2013
November 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 2013
September 3-6, San Francisco, CA
Social Capital Markets Conference

  • Built to Last: Succession Planning for Impact Enterprises

Vermont Employee Ownership Center Conference 2013
June 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. Presenter: Nicole “Nikki” Marín Baena