Local News & National News 

St Petersburg FL 

​​​After a two-decade hiatus, cooperatives will once again be part of the US Economic Census.

A question about cooperatives will be in the 2017 Economic Census, two decades after it was dropped. 
The Office of Management and Budget on May 5 signed off on a package of questions for the 2017 survey that includes one on cooperative businesses.
It’s the first time since 1997 that co-ops will be part of the Economic Census, which is conducted every five years to provide a comprehensive look at economic activity in the United States. Data collection is expected to begin in 2018.
“This is a breakthrough moment for cooperatives nationwide,” said Judy Ziewacz, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association-CLUSA. “The data gathered by the 2017 Economic Survey will fill a critical gap within the cooperative sector, allowing us to tell the story of cooperative economic impact in a more compelling way.”
NCBA had worked hard along with other cooperatives, including NRECA, to revive the cooperative portion of the Economic Census after it was eliminated in 1997.
The Census dropped a checkbox for “cooperative” in its Legal Form of Organization question in response to an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service that was supposed to provide information about co-ops.
The question approved for the current survey brings that back. It applies to single-unit cooperative businesses, though a question for multi-unit companies will be submitted later in the year, according to Andrew Baer, assistant division chief for the Economy-Wide Statistics Division of the Census Bureau.
“OMB had no questions or concerns about the cooperative portion of the single-unit survey, so we are hopeful that it will flow through smoothly for the multi-unit companies as well,” Baer told NCBA.
A single-unit co-op is a local co-op staffed by a handful of people with a small economic footprint, Multi-unit refers to a co-op with multiple stores and significant sales.
The Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus also urged reinstatement of the cooperative question, with its co-chairmen asking the Commerce Department in 2016 to side with the co-op position.
A 2007 study shows that 29,000 co-ops accounted for more than $3 trillion in assets, but NCBA said the number of co-ops is now closer to 40,000.
“We look forward to following this process and really quantifying the scope and impact of the cooperative economy,” said Alan Knapp, vice president of advocacy for NCBA CLUSA. “Having concrete data about cooperatives is crucial to advance the sector.”
​Steven Johnson is a staff writer for NRECA.
Florida Cooperative Empowered Economic Development corp.
(727) 418 6121

The Weekly Challenger 
Sept 7th 2017
Assistance & cooperative education available
ST. PETERSBURG  –  Florida Cooperative Empowered Economic Development Corp. (Florida Ceed), a newly formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with the support of Workforce Innovation and Community Strategy, has announced the launch of a cooperative development center located on the St. Pete campus of Pinellas Technical College (PTC).
“The engagement of these organizations with the development center creates a significant presence in our area for teaching and learning the skills needed to establish a larger, sustainable, cooperative economy,” said Florida Ceed’s Executive Director Judith Turner.
Florida Ceed operates as a Cooperative Business Development and Resource Center by providing education, training, and technical assistance to develop cooperative businesses through:
Community events that educate participants of all ages
Classroom and online technical and business education
One-on-one cooperative business technical assistance that allows access to specific resources available to cooperatives
To achieve these goals, Florida Ceed will closely collaborate with PTC and programs in the community, including:
Workforce Innovation & Community Strategy at PTC
Local Food Project
Urban Agriculture
Local Time Banks
Planned classes at PTC and he St. Pete Green House, which provides counseling for local businesses, for fall 2017 and spring 2018 include a two-hour Introduction to Cooperatives and a six-week micro-course to help participants decide whether the cooperative business model is right for them. Micro-course topics will cover what legally defines a business as a cooperative, the different types of cooperatives, State statutes, IRS and accounting rules, bylaws and governance.
Follow-up workshops will help teams develop their cooperative business model and connect them to the necessary resources for their specific type of co-op.
Upcoming events offered at the Saint Petersburg Greenhouse, and at PTC will begin in September 2017 and include a variety of formats ranging from co-op cafe with  discussions about co-op history, book club, readings about co-ops and how-to’s of creating a cooperative eco-system. For event information, dates and times, check our Facebook page, sign up for emails or visit our website.
For groups or individuals who wish to volunteer, assist, or intern for college credit, contact Judith Turner at floridaceed@gmail.com