Training To Boost Co-Op Businesses
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, along with SCO Family of Services’ Center for Family Life program in Sunset Park, announced the selection of two community based organizations in the Bronx and Queens to receive training and capacity building so they can then train New Yorkers and help develop worker-owned businesses across the five boroughs.
According to Quinn, employeeowned businesses tend to serve lowincome communities and on average, provide higher wages, better job stability, and more benefits than selfemployed businesses, many of whom are vulnerable to economic shocks and exploitative working conditions. The two selected organizations are Make the Road New York in Jackson Heights and the Westchester Square Partnership in the Bronx.
The New York City Worker Cooperative Development Initiative was first announced in Quinn’s address before the Association for a Better New York in October 2011.
This initiative provides technical assistance, training, consultation, and legal services for one year through the Center for Family Life, a Program of SCO Family of Services, and the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project. Two selected community based organizations, Westchester Square Partnership and Make the Road New York, will receive 12 months of in-kind technical program support and legal services to support the development of worker cooperatives among their members and community.
The cooperative development process involves outreach to community members, a selection process, and a 12-week cooperative orientation training for founding members. Newly formed worker cooperatives are expected to launch early in 2013.
“By teaching more organizations how to train New Yorkers to develop worker-owned cooperative businesses, we’re helping create more stable, better paying jobs in the communities that need them most,” said Quinn. “I am incredibly proud of the Council’s partnership with Center for Family Life to help expand the worker cooperative model across the five boroughs and look forward to seeing the businesses created out of this initiative.”
Based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, SCO Family of Services’ Center for Family Life has provided family and social services to the local community since 1978. The organization takes a comprehensive neighborhood based approach to providing social services in Sunset Park helping empower young people and recent immigrants through a variety of services including cultural, educational and recreational programming and skills development.
Working with Latino and working class community members, Make the Road New York provides workforce development, education, advocacy and social services for members in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.
“I was proud to support Make the Road New York’s application for funding through the Council’s Worker Cooperative Development Training initiative,” said City Council Member Julissa Ferreras. “This funding will help build the power of Latino and working class communities and will help meet a pressing need in immigrant communities – that of sustainable jobs.”
“The City should be doing everything in its power to foster and support entrepreneurs, especially among those who are at greatest risk of economic disenfranchisement,” added City Council Member Diana Reyna, chair of the Committee on Small Business. “The goals of this incubator program speak directly to economic and community development at its purest level: creating independence and self-sustainability among workers, entrepreneurs, women and immigrants.”
“The City Council is proud in its effort to prioritize initiatives that provides opportunities for the unemployed and low income residents,” said City Council Committee on Economic Development Chair Karen Koslowitz. “I am grateful to Speaker Quinn and Center for Family life for spearheading this important partnership that will encourage the creation of worker-owned businesses throughout the city and fostering more employment opportunities.”