The Wellspring Cooperative Corporation is a community-based cooperative development organization with a mission to create a network of worker owned companies in inner city Springfield, Massachusetts that will provide on-the-job training, employment and wealth creation opportunities for low income and unemployed residents of the city.
Wellspring's development strategy is to:
- Partner with Anchor Institutions, which are the place-based hospitals, colleges, and other nonprofit organizations that are the largest employers and largest purchasers of goods and services in Western Massachusetts. Together they purchase over $1.5 billion of goods and services a year with less than 10% spent in Springfield, and almost none spent in the low-income neighborhoods that surround many of the region's anchor institutions.
- Create Worker Cooperatives that are new businesses located in the inner city and designed to meet anchor purchasing needs. Worker cooperatives are also place-based because they are owned and controlled by neighborhood residents.
- Provide Living Wage Jobs, Training and Wealth by providing on-the-job training by skilled managers so that employees learn while they work. As coop members employees share in company profits so they build personal wealth as their companies grow. Which is essential to move out of poverty.
- Employ Low Income Residents who have been left out of the job market. Springfield has the lowest adult employment rate of any city in New England because of the lack of entry level jobs. Wellspring cooperatives provide a pathway out of poverty for low income residents of Springfield.
Wellspring builds on the Evergreen Cooperative model in Cleveland, which leverages anchor institution purchases to create worker-owned companies and jobs in the inner city. Since 2009, Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives has launched three worker-owned businesses: a $5.7 million, state-of-the-art green laundry, a hydroponic greenhouse the size of a football field that grows greens and herbs, and a solar installation business that installs photovoltaic panels.