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Grant Highlight: College Co-op Conference Hits the Sweet Spot

The College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC) caters to a demographic valuable to cooperatives looking to build their workforce – college students. Attracted to the principles of economic democracy and beginning to think about post-graduation jobs, students from colleges across the country participate in the Minneapolis event annually organized by the National Farmers Union (NFU) Foundation.

The three-day conference provides an interactive learning experience on the importance, structure and operations of various types of cooperatives, and the career and leadership paths they offer. The CHS Foundation and CoBank are major sponsors of the conference.

In 2019 the CDF Cooperative Education Fund supported the CCOC keynote luncheon, an annual collaboration with CoMinnesota and the Ralph K. Morris Foundation.

Co-op employees and members from agriculture, housing, worker, and consumer cooperatives spoke with the students. In addition, participants visited Mississippi Market Food Co-op, Seward Co-op, 7500 York Senior Housing Co-op, Riverton Housing Co-op and REI.

NFU President Roger Johnson explained, “NFU was founded on the core principles of education and cooperation, and we proudly continue that emphasis today with hands-on learning experiences like CCOC.”

The CCOC is held each February. Participation is by invitation to selected schools, but a small number of conference spots are open to other interested young adults. A modest registration fee applies and a partial travel sponsorship may be available. For more information e-mail NFU Education Director Emma Lindberg

About the CDF Cooperative Education Fund

The CDF Cooperative Education Fund supports cooperative research, sponsors cooperative education events and scholarships, and develops cooperative education materials and programs. The Fund provides $90,000-$100,000 in grants, scholarships, and sponsorships annually. For more information about the fund or to apply for a grant go to The deadline for the 2020 Spring grant cycle is May 1.

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