Wellspring Cooperative

Co-op Boot Camp - education & training for future worker-owners

Are you interested in co-owning your own business? Join the worker co-operative wave that is sweeping the country.

Come learn about what co-operatives are, why they are good for workers, the local economy, and communities. Introduction to Co-operatives is a 4-week course will give you the tools to understand what it takes to be a worker-owner and  the knowledge to decide if working in, or starting up a co-operative is for you.

4 classes, Thursdays, Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28,  2017

6:00 pm—9:00pm │Springfield Technical Community College, Building 2, 1st Fl, Café 1

$50 course fee, scholarships and limited stipends available. Registration closed.





Offered through the Workforce Training Program at STCC

For more info, call 413-323-7868 or email: emilykawano@gmail.com

Introduction to Co-operatives September 2017

This 4 week pilot of the Introduction to Co-operatives includes 4 classes that will meet once a week for 3 hours. Participants do not need any prior knowledge of co-operatives, but should come prepared to actively engage in the learning process, which will include small group breakouts, exercises, role plays, games, as well as presentations. Topics include:

  • What is a co-operative? What are the different types of co-operatives?
  • What role have co-operatives played in supporting social and economic justice? Why is there a current upsurge of co-ops?
  • How well do worker co-ops perform? How can they benefit workers and communities?
  • What does economic democracy and culture look like in practice? What does it mean to be a worker-owner as opposed to a worker? What skills are necessary?
  • Case studies and problem solving. Exploration of starting up your own cooperative.



Wellspring Cooperative is working in partnership with Springfield Technical Community College and community/labor organizations, including the YWCA, Arise for Social Justice, United Food & Commercial Workers 1459, and the Association of Black Business and Professionals to develop this worker cooperative certificate program.

The Co-op Boot Camp is open to the community as well as students. The program will include two courses, offered through STCC's Workforce Training Program. The first 4 week course, Introduction to Cooperatives, will provide an overview of cooperatives and give participants sound preparation for working in a cooperative. The second 11 week course, Building a Co-op Business will provide participants with the tools to start up their own cooperative business.

We will  pilot the first 4 week course in September 2017 and plan to run the full two course program in the spring of 2018.

Wellspring logo   Arise logo   STCC logo   ABBP logo   UFCW logo   YWCA logo


Co-op Events

In order to raise awareness about the Co-op Boot Camp as well as about cooperatives in general, we are organizing a series of events in Springfield. Our first event was held on April 27th, with Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of Collective Courage. Her talk on "Cooperatives and the African American Struggle for Justice, Survival and Economic Development" drew a diverse crowd of around 55 people. We wrapped up with an interactive exercise that lifted up new learnings, questions and ideas to grow the cooperative eco-system.

Lunch and Learn series. Lunch will be provided. Registration required.

September 26, 2017 - Co-op Conversions: A Strategy to Save Jobs and Build Economic Democracy. Come and hear about the potential of converting conventional businesses into worker co-ops. Speakers include Representative Paul Mark, a proponent of the Massachusetts Office Employee Involvement and Ownership, and Camille Kerr, a conversion consultant from the ICA Group.
Light refreshments & socializing: 5:00-5:30 pm                      Program: 5:30-7:00pm
Venue: TBA


August 16, 2017 - Lunch & Learn: Co-opoly come and play a mini-version of this fun game where players learn to work together so that everyone wins or everyone loses.
Check-in: 11:45am                      Program: 12:00-1:00
Venue: Teleconference Rm, Scibelli Enterprise Center, 1 Federal St., Springfield, MA 01105



June 28, 2017 - Lunch & Learn: Pioneer Valley's Wealth of Cooperatives will bring together a panel of workers from local cooperatives including Wellspring Cooperative, Real Pickles, TESA and Energia. Free event, lunch provided, registration required. 
Check-in: 11:45am                      Program: 12:00-1:00
Venue: Scibelli Enterprise Center, 1 Federal St., Springfield, MA 01105



Thank you

We are grateful for support from an Innovation Planning Grant from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.