Apply to be a DAWN Peer Advisor

Submitted by Melissa Hoover on Mon, 09/17/2012 - 14:15

The application process for next year's cohort of DAWN peer advisor apprentices is now open.

Applications for next year’s training are available via webform at at: or as a Word document at (scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Download an Application Form.”  The application deadline has been extended to January 31. We will select and announce the new cohort in mid-February.

This year we are especially interested in recruiting apprentices who speak Spanish and English, and people who will be able to make a significant commitment to being a DAWN peer advisor in the years to come.

Training Approach and Philosophy
DAWN provides a yearlong training program for worker cooperators to become peer advisors. The goal is to give worker cooperators the tools and resources they need to effectively provide technical assistance and support to other cooperatives, community groups and startup projects. So the trainings focus a lot on communication, the ethics and how-tos of cooperative development, and the larger legal and financial landscape for worker cooperatives.

We expect that you’re bringing in your own specific areas of knowledge and expertise: personnel and training, cooperative governance, finances, facilitation, conflict resolution and mediation, IT, policy and corporate secretary skills, whatever  areas where you might have skills and experience. The trainings aim to help you effectively share the knowledge you already have from working in your cooperatives, not to give you this knowledge (though you will pick up some things as you go along).

We work hard to create an active peer learning process. And we’re a young program that is still taking shape. What this means is that you will be asked and expected to help shape the training – both your own and that of future years. We ask for your input and evaluation as we plan the year ahead and as we reflect on it. We’ve put a lot of work into planning and refining this training, but we don’t have it all figured out. Expect to participate!

The Nitty Gritty: Schedule and Commitments
When you enter this training program, you join DAWN as an “apprentice” peer advisor member. We ask that apprentices attend 2 in-person weekend trainings and 10 2-hour webinars, plus a required internship with a cooperative or development organization and one research project. Training is provided by cooperative developers, more experienced PAs, and in some cases the other apprentices in the group. There will be occasional light homework for the trainings.

We keep the apprentice group small to encourage good conversation and help build social and professional bonds. Your apprentice cohort will be as much a source of information as your trainers.

The full training program schedule is described in a separate document available upon request.  An overview of our tentative schedule is as follows (none of these dates are firm yet so there is some flexibility):

TRAINING WEEKEND #1: March 27-29, 2015 (tentative)
TRAINING WEEKEND #2: November 6-8, 2015 (tentative)
WEBINARS: Currently scheduled for every other Wednesday 1pm-3pm Pacific. We can change this time based on the availability of the apprentice group members once chosen.
INTERNSHIP: Begins in May 2015, to be completed by December 2015 (can be done remotely)
RESEARCH COMPONENT: Each apprentice completes one research project on cooperative models or cooperative development models, to be presented to their peers at the second training weekend.

The DAWN training program is for worker cooperators - people who have worked or are working as worker-owners in a worker cooperative. It is a PEER training, not intended for cooperative developers, consultants or other professionals. (For this type of training, please visit our esteemed colleagues at CooperationWorks! and enroll in their Cooperative Development Institute.) To be eligible for apprentice status, applicants must have worked for at least six months in a worker cooperative within the last five years.


Here are the costs associated with being accepted into the program:
$200 fee to become a DAWN apprentice member (this covers our administrative costs)
$400 training fee to attend all webinars and in-person trainings (this partially covers our training costs)
Travel costs: Apprentices are responsible for covering their travel costs for the in-person weekend trainings.

There may be some resources and scholarships available to subsidize these travel costs, but DAWN does not commit to covering travel costs for apprentices. We will make every effort to convene the trainings in the area where the most apprentices can travel for the cheapest, and where we can locate free or low-cost housing.

Application Process
We hope you apply!  But you should only apply for the training program if you can commit to attending the two in-person weekends and the bi-weekly training webinars, and completing an internship and research project.

This is a competitive application process. Every year we will accept a small group of apprentices into the DAWN training program. As stated above, we keep each apprentice cohort small to foster good conversation and strong social and professional bonds. Prospective apprentices must complete the attached application, and the DAWN Governors will select the 2012 apprentice group.

Application deadline:  January 31, 2015
Notification of acceptance: February 2015

Certification and Peer Advisor work
Apprentices who complete the training program may apply for certification as a DAWN Peer Advisor.  To be certified, apprentices must: attend both in-person training weekends; attend or make up each webinar; complete a small research project; complete the internship with a satisfactory report from the host; and interview with the certification board. The certification board consists of certified DAWN peer advisors and members of the Democracy at Work Institute Board of Directors.

We ask that all apprentices commit to attending as many of the trainings as possible, and we hope people will become certified, but apprentices can choose not to go through the certification process and not to be certified. They may complete the required trainings or internships in future years, or not at all.

Certified peer advisors are eligible for paid work that is referred through DAWN. DAWN peer advisors provide some of the member technical assistance for USFWC members, and also respond to technical assistance requests from other cooperatives, developers, and the public.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Contact Michaela at