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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Business and Human Resources > Employment in Green Companies and Organizations > Green Jobs and Green Job Training

Cooperatives to Create Jobs around Education

Job creation not only helps individual families, but helps communities thrive -- schools, local businesses and social support systems can work together to provide shared benefits.

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During the last recession in 2004, Wisconsin communities took a look at disappearing manufacturing jobs and rather than chasing those few out-of-town businesses looking for a new home, a local agency joined with several local entities, large and small, to build a community partnership that led to an award-winning cooperative home-building program.

The cooperative is an area partnership of schools, government and local businesses with education playing a central role.

The group mapped out several tasks: build a strong community council focusing on job development: pool limited capital to better support the plan.

Because schools are a resource for community education and the place where potential employees can be trained, they had a strong place at the table.

Cooperative job development requires systematic planning and monitoring of processes. Keeping our high-achieving students at home or providing reasons for them to return after college or military commitments becomes central to building a viable community. Without a plan for accomplishing this, distressed school areas lose their most important resource for their survival — the children of returning students.

Members of the Job Creation Cooperative

Information gatherers carried out surveys for data about local jobs, available resources, potential levels of participation, parent and community concerns and potential partners to be addressed in the initial stages of the plan.

County economic development professionals provided access to federal, state, regional and local resources, including the borrowing needed to build the houses.

Small and large employers bought into our plan.

Local school boards joined in the partnership, which ensured we would have a wide array of student and family participants as well as local buy-in to the curriculum. Participation of local government officials ensured it was politically viable.

A management team, determined roles and responsibilities, devised cooperative activities and evaluated each step in the process.

Checkpoints for Cooperative Development

Checkpoints included inviting all stakeholders to a meeting early in the process to identify possible issues before they became insolvable.

Making contact with statewide business groups provides legitimacy on what for a community could be a novel concept. It can also result in equipment donations from statewide companies.

Keep all parties in the communication loop through electronic mail and newsletters.

Outcomes of Cooperative Job Creation

Cooperative planning for workers, capital and customers raises community awareness and expectations.

Facilitating economic growth keeps good students at home or brings them back to the community to provide a solid base of strong families.

Cooperative systems also provide an attractive milieu for new development and provide resources in our rural communities for growth.

Source

This cooperative outline was based on the story of Robert Kellogg, administrator of the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 8, P.O. Box 320, Gillett, WI 54124. E-mail: bkellogg@cesa8.k12.wi.us



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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