Classes led by Kim Coontz of CCCD and Josie Enriquez of Empower Yolo teach prospective co-op members how to read and understand financial statements.
By E. Kim Coontz
Two local nonprofits — the California Center for Cooperative Development and Empower Yolo — have partnered in developing a worker co-op to create jobs and cooperative ownership opportunities for underserved residents in Yolo County. Yolo Eco-Clean Cooperative, a green cleaning business providing residential and commercial cleaning services in Yolo County, will open its doors on Nov. 1.
Yolo Eco-Clean Cooperative builds on the center’s prior projects using the “build and recruit” model of cooperative development. In this model, pre-development and early launch decisions are made by a steering committee and a temporary board composed of six community members, five from Davis and one from Woodland, who have been meeting bi-weekly volunteering their time and expertise.
Omar Herera of Travis Credit Union is also involved with the project, lending his financial expertise.
This team of volunteers and nonprofit staff will shepherd the business while initial member candidates go through the membership process.
Before submitting an application to work with the co-op, prospective members complete four workshops that focus on worker cooperatives: Co-ops 101, Governance and Decision-Making, Understanding Finances and Bylaws of Yolo Eco-Clean Cooperative. Classes are conducted in Spanish and English.
Member candidates must work for the cooperative for six months before they are eligible for membership. Six women have completed all of the classes and are engaged in green cleaning education in preparation for the co-op opening later in November.
The benefits of working at Yolo Eco-Clean Cooperative are multifaceted. Wages are better than comparable jobs, and members share in the profits. But there are other benefits as well. Workers are engaged in deciding their work schedule, how work is organized and all aspects of decision-making. They have opportunities to try on “new hats” as they engage in business strategy, public relations, accounting, marketing and leadership.
A bonus is that skill development, and especially job satisfaction, spills over into empowerment, increased civic engagement and even happiness.
Yolo Eco-Clean Cooperative will be tabling along with other local cooperatives on Wednesday, Oct. 19, during Co-op Day at the Davis Farmers Market in Central Park, Fourth and C streets.
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