Ed.Coop Launches!

Welcome to CENet!

We’re the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE), Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO), and TESA Collective. For the past year and a half, we’ve been working together to launch the Cooperative Educators Network, or CENet.

CENet is an online hub that provides curated educational learning paths comprising resources from across the cooperative movement. After collaborating with more than 100 organizations and individuals to shape CENet, the platform is now live, and we wanted to take a few minutes to explain what CENet is all about.

What is the vision behind CENet?

All three of our organizations work to build a thriving cooperative economy by promoting public education about co-ops. We saw that many groups were producing excellent educational resources about cooperatives, from enlightening reports to engaging podcasts and videos.

With CENet, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel; we wanted to harness the brilliance of the educational materials that our fellow cooperators were already producing and bring them together into one hub, extending their reach and impact. Our vision was to create a space where anyone wishing to learn or teach about co-ops had an easily accessible portal to find compelling educational tools that would help them along their journey.

We chose to structure CENet by creating specific learning paths so that visitors to the site could access relevant information no matter their goal. There’s the Co-op Curious path, designed for people with little to no previous knowledge of co-ops. There’s Worker Co-op Start-ups for cooperatives in their earliest phases and Worker Co-op Conversions for businesses transitioning to becoming employee-owned. There’s a section for those working to impact public policy around cooperatives, a learning path for co-operative directors (governance) and an area for university and post-secondary educators. We have 14 paths and counting planned for CENet, so keep checking back as we add more in the coming months.

That brings us to an important point: for CENet to succeed, we need you to contribute! We’re always looking to grow the collection—get in touch with us to add your organization’s tools!

How was CENet developed?

Since 2016, our team has been working to knit together an online community of cooperative educators in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. One of the first things we did was launch a survey that sought to understand what digital resources already exist and how cooperators were collaborating online. From there, we conducted interviews and met cooperative educators in person at conferences to find out how to meet current educational needs.

One goal that came out of our network-building activities was to make CENet trilingual, with resources in English, French, and Spanish. Although we are launching with a majority of English content, we are continuing to work toward building French and Spanish content in the coming year and beyond.

As we progress, we will continue to add learning paths and update the materials where possible. We are constantly seeing new, useful tools being developed and we want to ensure those get out to the people who can use them. Thus, we will continue outreach and communication efforts to reach more and more people.

We acknowledge the support of the CHS Foundation, without which CENet would not be possible. The CHS Foundation is funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company. The CHS Foundation is focused on developing a new generation of agriculture leaders. For more information on their programs go to www.chsinc.com/stewardship.

Thank you for visiting CENet! We encourage you to share the site on social media, spread the word within your communities, and contact ed@ace.coop with questions or to get involved.