Worker Owned Academy

FALL 2021 ACADEMY DATES: 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30 and 12/7 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. PST

FEE for Six Classes: $60 (Register below and we will send you a payment link. Income-based fee waivers are available.)

Last day to register is 10/19.

NOTE: The Academy is open to residents of Humboldt County. Folks from outside Humboldt, please email us to be put on the wait-list. If there is space available after 10/19, we will contact you.


The Worker Owned Academy is for people and groups who are serious about starting a cooperative business or converting an existing business to worker-ownership. Our skill-building classes initiate your planning and development process. Scroll down for a Course Overview.

Qualified groups who complete the Academy may be selected to enter into our Worker Owned Incubator for one-on-one business development support.


By registering for the Academy you are committing to full participation during all six classes, and to the completion of 1-2 hours of homework each week.


Course Overview
Session 1 – Introduction to Cooperatives

This session focuses on what a co-op is, what makes them different from other businesses, and what is the same. Special attention is on the participants introducing the business ideas, giving feedback and answering questions and worries.

Session 2 – Process of Starting a Cooperative

This session focuses on the process of starting a co-op; what do you need to do before you incorporate your business: Start with an idea, Form a Team/Steering Committee, Make a Business plan and a Feasibility study, and Decide on bylaws and legal structure for the business.

Session 3 – Working in a Co-op Development Team: Facilitation and Consensus

This session focuses on the work in a Co-op Development Team with special emphasis on facilitation and consensus decision making.

Session 4 –  Decision Making Structures and Meeting Dynamics

This session focuses on different decision-making structures and the power distribution in a development team and a larger cooperative. We also look at agendas and notetaking for effective meetings.

Session 5 – Financing and Funding

This session focuses on the money; how to plan for it, how to distribute it, how to get hold of it. Based on what is called the patronage dividend, or how to share the surplus, we will touch upon investors, lenders, community support, as will basic budgeting and cashflow.

Session 6 – Governance and Next steps

This session focuses on the governance of a co-op (Bylaws and Operating Agreements), legal structures (Cooperative Corporation and LLC), and the concrete steps you will have to take after the Academy to actually incorporate your cooperative.