Employee-Owners a Staple of "Evergreen"

Posted Date: 
September 15, 2011

From left to right: Co-Chair Stewart Edelstein, Gar Alperovitz, Steve Dubb, Vice-Chair Bill Robertson
The Economic Development Committee hosted University of Maryland Professor Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb from the Democracy Collaborative to discuss their initiative called the Evergreen Cooperative, specifically their work in Cleveland Ohio. Hosted by Vice Chair Bill Robertson from Adventist Healthcare and Co-Chair Stewart Edelstein from the Universities at Shady Grove, Alperovitz and Dubb spoke about economic development strategies in low income areas.
The Evergreen Cooperative partners with area Universities and hospitals along with non-profits and the public sector to build and grow employee-owned companies to provide services in growing sectors of the economy so as to create jobs, not displace people from their jobs.  By giving employees equity in the company, they encourage employees to remain in the neighborhoods and help their revitalization.
According to Dubb, to date, two businesses (a state-of-the-art "green" industrial-scale laundry and a solar panel installation company) have opened, with a third business (a 4-acre greenhouse) in formation. The effort aims to create 500 jobs and 10 businesses within the next five years and ultimately aims to generate 5,000 jobs.
Now, Alperovitz and Dubb are looking to expand their work in Cleveland to other areas of the Country including the Washington, DC region and Montgomery County. The process of creating one of these businesses involves interviewing procurement officers and nearby institutions to help identify business opportunities. Once the businesses are established, employee-owners are trained by business leaders in the community.
The discussion generated a lot of positive feedback including from another special guest, Councilmember Marc Elrich, who also attended the meeting.

MCCC Strategic Partners