MECA hosted an Electric Cooperative Foundations workshop at the Wolverine Power Cooperative office in Cadillac on Sept. 20.
“This workshop has three main goals,” said Doug Snitgen, Executive Vice President at MECA. “We want every participant to gain a better understanding of the cooperative model, connect the cooperative principles and values to their own daily work, and meet employees from other Michigan co-ops in order to expand their personal co-op network.”
Snitgen led the group on a “virtual road trip” to learn more about each of the Michigan electric co-ops, and Adam Schwartz facilitated the NRECA “Power of Cooperatives” (101.5) training course. Schwartz is the founder and principal of The Cooperative Way, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting co-op businesses succeed. He teaches a course about co-ops at the University of Mary Washington and has appeared on MSNBC and CNN to promote co-ops as the better business model for economic and social change.
“We’re very fortunate to have Adam facilitate this workshop,” said Snitgen. “He’s a nationally-respected advocate for all types of co-ops.”
The interactive workshop used videos and group exercises to reinforce the co-op principles and applications of the co-op business model in everyday work. One participant noted on their evaluation, “I didn’t know much about co-ops before today, but now I understand how and why they exist.” Another said, “It was a fun way to learn about co-ops — the instructor was informative, relatable and funny.”
While the workshop is designed for any employee who hasn’t had an opportunity to learn the unique nature of the co-op way of doing business, average tenure among the nearly 40 participants was less than one year.
“Our member co-ops are hiring a lot of new people,” said Snitgen. “This is the fourth time we’ve offered this orientation workshop in the last 24 months, and enrollment has been consistently strong.”
Watch the MECA Training & Events Calendar for other in-state networking and professional development opportunities.