Friends and Supporters,
three decades, the Consortium for Worker
Education has dedicated itself to the development of New
York's workforce. Through partnerships with unions and community
organizations, CWE provides education, training, and job placement
for tens of thousands of workers every year. Please read on for the
latest news from the Consortium for Worker Education.
The United Handymen Coop received
training and certification in occupational safety and health
standards, provided by Accion Cooperativa de Entrenadores
What would happen if workers owned the businesses they
work at? It’s not a theoretical question; across New York and across
the world, more and more workers are taking their futures into their
own hands and forming worker-owned businesses known as cooperatives.
New York has coops of all sizes, from a small group of handymen
joining forces in Sunset Park, to a cooperative of 2,000 home health
aides in the Bronx.
Three years ago, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA)
convened a group of organizations to discuss how to foster and grow
these unique businesses. A variety of groups were at the table,
including Make the Road New York (MTRNY) and the Center for Family
Life (CFL), which had been developing coops in their communities, and
organizations like the Consortium for Worker Education and the Business
Outreach Center Network, which had experience training workers for
success in their fields. That discussion became the Worker
Cooperative Business Development Initiative, which has received
funding from the City Council and set to work supporting New York’s
“CWE has been a collaborator of the worker cooperative movement in
New York City for several years, most recently with the FPWA and
their major cooperative development initiative,” says Deputy
Executive Director Beverley O'Donnell. “We see great opportunity to
grow the current initiative through educating and training worker
CWE held its initial trainings for cooperatives this year. For Golden
Steps, a cooperative of elder care providers, CFL and CWE organized a
training on what to do when natural disasters strike; many of the
caregivers remembered vividly the chaos for elderly New Yorkers
following Hurricane Sandy. Cooperatives of handymen and professional
cleaners came to CWE for a training and certification in occupational
safety and health standards (appropriately provided by a cooperative
of certified trainers, called Accion Cooperativa de Entrenadores
Occupacionales, which translates as Occupational Safety Trainers
Cooperative in Action).
While training business owners is new to CWE, the needs of students
are familiar. “In essence, we are training workers,” says O'Donnell.
And CWE understands how to train workers. “They need it in real time,
they need it targeted, and they need it at a convenient time. We are addressing
a gap that is not being filled by formal coursework.”
As the project matures, CWE plans to expand its offerings to coops,
including marketing, branding, sales, and bookkeeping. While coop
workers are often experts in their given fields, say O'Donnell, they
are still learning what it takes to run a successful business.
With the new coop initiative, CWE is showing what it takes to evolve
and grow with New York’s ever-changing workforce.
to Employment: Earl's Story
grew up in a low-income household in the Bronx. After his father
passed away in his youth, he turned to alcohol and drugs to cope.
Through the next few decades, he struggled with crack addiction, was
in and out of jail, lost several dead end jobs, and went through a
handful of programs that never addressed his drug habit.
and tired of the same old cycle, Earl checked into a substance abuse
treatment center. After eight months of learning to live without
dependency, Earl was referred to HOPE, a job training partner funded
by the Consortium for Worker Education.
Through HOPE’s twelve weeks of training, supportive staff, and an
internship in the nonprofit sector, Earl secured a full-time job with
benefits and a competitive salary at a leading nonprofit
organization. He is now celebrating nine months on the job and over a
year of sobriety.
“My family feels great about my new job. It’s great to have them back
in my life,” says Earl. And he knows that when he hits career
challenges or is ready to advance, he can return to HOPE for
continued support. “HOPE for life.”
Earl’s transformation didn't end with sobriety and a job - he also
completed the New York City marathon.
video featuring Earl’s transformation is on the HOPE website.