On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, four outstanding leaders will receive the co-op community’s highest honor when they are inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame: credit union leader Joy Cousminer, worker cooperative leader Steven Dawson, cooperative financer Rebecca Dunn, and cooperative educator Leland Ruth. In each of the first four issues of eCooperator in 2013, we’ll feature a profile of one of this year’s Hall of Fame recipients. For more information about the Hall of Fame, please visit www.heroes.coop.
As Founding President and now Strategic Advisor to the national Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), Steven Dawson has played a key role in laying the intellectual and organizational groundwork for the current worker cooperative movement. Along with many colleagues, he helped found two significant organizations: the ICA Group, the first national professional consulting group for worker cooperative ownership, and Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), now the largest worker cooperative in the US (which employs 2200 inner-city home care workers in the South Bronx). Dawson is also the founding chair of Home Care Associates, a successful worker cooperative replication of CHCA in inner-city Philadelphia(with 250 home care aides employed).
When Dawson came to understand that much of what affects the quality of life for direct-care workers and their clients emanates from public policy, he helped found PHI—the nonprofit affiliate of CHCA and now the nation’s largest policy and technical assistance organization working to benefit all direct-care workers: home health aides, personal care aides and certified nurse aides.
For more than three decades, Dawson’s work has helped change the lives of tens of thousands of low-income workers, and some of the foremost worker cooperatives in the US acknowledge his influence on their success.