Wellspring Cooperative

Co-op Boot Camp: Education and Training for Future Worker-owners


     The Co-op Bootcamp has filled a necessary role in the fruition of a cooperative economy: an accessible way for people to learn about cooperatives and how to become part of one. The Co-op Bootcamp is a two-part annual course in which people learn what cooperatives are and how to start their own. 

     The course incorporates small group exercises, role plays, games, presentations, and lectures. Prior to the pandemic, and expected to return when safe, in-person courses included field trips to local cooperatives such as Real Pickles, Artisan Beverage, and PV Squared Solar where students were given tours of the cooperatives and how they function. Participants are exposed to the many different types and structures of cooperatives, allowing people to develop an informed cooperative model that suits their needs and business.

     Worker-owners from Wellspring Harvest, Jumping Jack Hoops, and Farm Bug Cooperative in the Wellspring network graduated from the Co-op Bootcamp. The Co-op Boot Camp is helping to build a local cooperative economy that promotes a more just and sustainable future in which workers learn how to run their own businesses together, share in the profits, and give back to the local communities that support them.

     The Worker Co-op Boot Camp is a project of Wellspring Cooperative, a non-profit that is building a network of worker-owned co-ops in the Springfield area. This Co-op Boot Camp emerged out of a partnership with Springfield Technical Community College, TESA (Toolbox for Educational & Social Action), Cooperative Fund of New England and community/labor organizations including Arise for Social Justice.


Co-op Boot Camp 2023 Online

Join Wellspring Cooperative for our 2023 Co-op Bootcamp Online! We are so excited to host another year’s Boot Camp. If you’re interested in learning more about what cooperatives are all about, why they are good for workers, the local economy, and the broader community register today!



Register Here!

For more info, call 413-461-8203 or email: emilykawano@gmail.com



Co-op Past 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.