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dc.creatorScott, Hannah
dc.creatorHarlow, Ivory
dc.identifier.citationEngaged Scholars, v. 7 (2019).
dc.descriptionWorker-owned cooperatives, defined by two advocates of the model as, "values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose . . . [in which] workers participate in the profits, oversight, and, to varying degrees, the management of the organization, using democratic practices," (Hoover & Abell 2016), are growing across the United States. In 2016, it was estimated there were 357 worker-owned cooperatives and democratic workplaces in the country. Worker-owned co-ops have the potential to create viable employment opportunities, employing on average 9.5 employees per enterprise where workers earn an average wage of 15.82 per hour with entry-level wages clustered around $10-13 per hour (Palmer 2018). The federal minimum wage during this same period was 7.25 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Not only do worker-owners gain employment, the model empowers them to share in the control of their workplace and often, to build business skills (Abell 2014). There is also tentative evidence that communities with high rates of employee-ownership have better health outcomes, educational outcomes, and higher social participation than communities with low or no employee ownership (Erdal 2012). Finally, some studies indicate that employee-owned enterprises are more productive (Abell 2014). The CFAES Center for Cooperatives partnered with the Central Appalachian Working Group, Working World, and the city of Parkersburg, West Virginia to make the founders’ dream a reality. It took awareness of partner needs, sharing resources and responsibilities and recognition of shared success. Partners created greater collective impact together than they would have accomplished as independent organizations. In February 2018, founders and partner organizations stood together at Unity Coffee and Teahouses ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening in downtown Parkersburg. This ignite presentation presents the Center's experience working with allied partners to support economic development through the cooperative model. Presenters from the CFAES Center for Cooperatives will share the example of Unity Coffee and Teahouse, Parkersburg West Virginia's first worker-owned cooperative inspiring educators, students, and business and community developers to collaborate for greater impact. Participants will recognize the value of partnerships in engaged service to achieve a shared goal.
dc.descriptionAUTHOR AFFILIATION: Hannah Scott, program manager, CFAES Center for Cooperatives, (Corresponding Author); Ivory Harlow, program specialist, CFAES Center for Cooperatives
dc.description.abstractCooperative businesses create a resilient and sustainable future for worker-owners. Co-ops create viable long-term employment and opportunities for career advancement; particularly for individuals in distressed economies and service industries. Additionally, worker-ownership empowers people, improves their quality of life, and enhances the communities in which they live and work. We will present best practices of working together to support economic development. Using Unity Coffee and Teahouse, Parkersburg, West Virginia's first worker-owned cooperative, as a model, we will inspire educators, students, business and community developers to collaborate for greater impact. Participants will recognize the value of diversity in partnerships and learn best practices of engaged service to achieve a shared goal.
dc.publisherOhio State University. Office of Outreach and Engagement
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCommunity Engagement Conference. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, January 23–24, 2019.
dc.subjecteconomic development
dc.titleWorker Ownership: Sustainable Economic Development through the Cooperative Model
dc.rights.ccAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States

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