OSU launches online co-op training

Staff report

Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives has launched Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101, a new online training course designed to educate cooperative members, boards, management, employees, and students.

The training is housed in OSU public-facing online education platform. It is free and can be accessed online at go.osu.edu/coopmastery.

“Co-op Mastery curriculum focuses on mid-level knowledge about the cooperative business model,” said Hannah Scott, Center for Cooperatives program manager. “Training modules build on existing fundamental materials by providing an in-depth look at governance, finance, taxation, and other areas not typically covered by courses in fundamentals, yet challenging topics for stakeholders.”

The training features eight modules which include video interviews with numerous leaders in the cooperative movement:

Logan County Electric Cooperative General Manager Rick Petty discusses cooperative principles and various functions of cooperatives; Dennis Bolling, retired president and CEO of United Producers Cooperative, shares the benefits cooperatives provide members; Mid-America Cooperative Counsel Executive Director Rod Kelsay discusses effective education and training the board of directors; OSU Extension Educator Dr. Chris Bruynis gives insight to key factors that contribute to a cooperative’s success; Devin Fuhrman, Nationwide’s vice president of Sponsor Relations, shares the story of Nationwide’s history as a mutual cooperative company; agricultural attorney Carolyn Eselgroth of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham, and Eselgroth, LLP addresses legal considerations when forming a cooperative business; Co-Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gary Weidenborner leads users through an interactive financial document exercise; Dr. David Hahn, professor emeritus of OSU, explains cooperative taxation.

“We invite folks to ask questions and receive answers from our center staff in the online co-op forum,” said Joy Bauman, program coordinator. “They can also browse an extensive collection of online resources in the Cooperative Library.”

The CFAES Center for Cooperatives offers customized in-person workshops to complement the online training. Workshops are designed to serve the requesting cooperative’s needs. Examples include: new employee education, board of director education, strategic plan development, cooperative marketing, and policy development. Workshop participants receive a companion workbook with activities to fortify learning. They gain on-going access to Co-op Mastery online training materials, which they may work through at their own pace or search for specific information to meet immediate needs.

To request a workshop or more information, visit go.osu.edu/cooperatives or contact the Center for Cooperatives at [email protected] or 740-289-2071 ext. 111.

Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101 is made possible by a grant from the CHS Foundation 2017 Cooperative Education Grants Program.

Staff report