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University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives hosts popular national program for developers of cooperative businesses

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives will host the CooperationWorks! national training program for developers of new cooperative businesses May 16-20, 2005 at the J.F. Friedrick Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

This is the only program available in the United States that offers training in the development and start-up of cooperative businesses. CooperationWorks! is an organization of 21 centers for cooperative development located around the country, who are currently serving rural and urban residents in 45 states.

“Cooperative businesses are based on self-help and local control,” notes Audrey Malan, executive director of CooperationWorks!. “They are a proven economic and community development strategy to generate sustainable solutions to shared challenges, to build local ownership, and to achieve shared goals.”

“We are pleased to hold this session in Madison, an area that is becoming nationally recognized as an epicenter of cooperative research, education and organizing,” Malan added.

Wisconsin and the upper Midwest have a long and successful history of cooperative enterprise that began with the earliest European settlers and continued through the early days of rural electric and other utility co-ops. Today the region is a leader in agricultural, forestry, and senior housing cooperatives.

The professional development training program will open with a reception for cooperators in the Madison area on Monday, May 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the J.F. Friedrick Center. Participants will include the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Filene Research Institute, and other members of Madison”s strong local cooperative community. Registration is not required to attend the reception.

Reception attendants will be treated to a visit from Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, who was for many years the CEO of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives.

Secretary Nilsestuen will be joined by deputy secretary Judy Ziewacz, former executive director of the Cooperative Development Foundation and a key figure in the creation of CooperationWorks!

Bill Patrie, president of CooperationWorks! board of directors, former director of economic development for North Dakota and current executive director of the Dakota Enterprise Center, will also address reception guests.

The May 16 reception kicks off the first of two five-day training sessions in the 2005 program. The second session will be held at the same venue November 14-18. Attendance at the first session is recommended but not required.

For more information and to schedule interviews contact:
Audrey Malan, executive director, CooperationWorks!
(307) 655-9162