Building an Eco-Friendly, Worker Co-op Academy in the Bronx

Green_worker_logoTESA worked with the Bronx-based Green Worker Cooperatives (GWC) to create a popular education curriculum for its worker co-op academy.

Challenges faced
GWC wanted to create an exciting, interactive popular education-based academy to work with people from the Bronx to launch green, worker-owned cooperatives. This meant pulling together a wide range of practitioners with different areas of expertise: from starting a business to democratic decision making to marketing to legal needs. Each of these facilitators needed to create their own workshops, while GWC needed a holistic curriculum that met the needs of each of the participants. In addition, not every workshop facilitator was knowledge in popular education or cooperatives.

How TESA helped
TESA created a train-the-trainers on the tenants of popular education and worker cooperatives, which was facilitated and carried out with each of the GWC workshop facilitators. TESA then worked with GWC and each individual session leader to design their workshops, to make sure they were strong, interactive, participatory, and met the needs of the participants. TESA worked with each trainer through several drafts of their workshop. Throughout this process, TESA also coordinated with GWC to make sure that each individually-designed workshop was woven into a coherent and exciting curriculum that could be used time and time again. What’s more, TESA created a digital handbook for participants to use throughout the entire academy, to help them digest their thoughts, to make big decisions, and to guide them throughout the process.

What would you say to others about TESA?

If it weren’t for the good folks at The Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA), our Co-op Academy wouldn’t be half as intensive and amazing as it is. When we decided to give our cooperative green business boot camp a major upgrade we turned to TESA to ensure that it was participatory and engaging and that all of the pieces fit smoothly. Not only are they the creators of the brilliant and fun board game Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, they’re also great at developing engaging curriculum. [TESA staff] did an incredible job working with each of our trainers to make sure that all of the workshops were lively and flowed together. They’re big fans of popular education techniques and they brought that energy to the Coop Academy. Thanks [TESA] for your time and great work. We couldn’t have done it without you.

—Omar Freilla, founder of Green Worker Cooperatives

A note from TESA
GWC is doing innovative and crucial work. It was an absolute joy to work with this group that is so dedicated to making the necessary foundational change to people’s lives and communities. They were receptive to our ideas and excited about building a program in a collaborative fashion. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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