The Co-op Ed Center (CEC) is an organization committed to building democratic worker-owned businesses in Chicagoland that contribute to a strong local economy and invest in community development. Its purpose is to train, develop and support worker cooperatives in communities of color that abide by democratic and social justice values.
Our vision is to create a restorative economy built through worker cooperatives centered on education, solidarity and collective self-determination. We define ‘restorative economy’ as the process of recovery of communities that have been left behind or excluded by the current economic system. We believe that we can achieve this vision by implementing strategies that heal communities and focus foremost on the needs of people, more so than just profit. Examples of these strategies, which are fundamental to worker cooperatives, include:
- - Building democratic governance structures that allow people to engage in conversations and make decisions collectively about the issues that affect them directly.
- - Generating community wealth and ownership to leverage joint economic power to collectively assert rights and exercise political power.
- - Forming relationships that promote cooperation, solidarity and inclusion instead of competition, exploitation and exclusion.