Train to be a Peer Advisor

DAWN conducts a yearlong training program for worker cooperators to become DAWN peer advisors. The goal of this training 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. Trainings are given by webinar and in person; they focus on communication, project staging and management, the ethics and practices of cooperative development, and the larger legal and financial landscape for worker cooperatives.

When trainees enter this training program, they join DAWN as an “apprentice” peer advisor member. Apprentices attend two in-person weekend trainings and ten 2-hour webinars, plus a required internship with a cooperative development organization or a guided advising project with a mentor. Training is provided by cooperative developers, more experienced peer advisors, and in some cases the apprentices themselves. There will be occasional light homework for the trainings.

We expect peer advisors to bring their own specific areas of knowledge and expertise to the program. Some examples of areas of expertise are: personnel and training, cooperative governance, finances, facilitation, conflict resolution and mediation, IT systems, policy, and corporate secretary skills. The trainings aim to help peer advisors effectively share the knowledge they already have from working in their cooperatives, not to create this knowledge (though you will pick up some things as you go along).


All trainings are free to apprentices, but there are some costs associated with being accepted into the program:

  • $400 total - $200 fee to become an apprentice member and $200 for training (this covers our administrative 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.



Applications for the DAWN training program are accepted once per year. Applications for the 2015 cohort are now available, and are due by January 15, 2015. Cohort members will be notified of their acceptance in February 2015.

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

This is a competitive application process. Every year we will accept a small group of apprentices into the DAWN training program. 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.

For more complete information about the DAWN training program, see our recent blog post.