Cooperative Principle #5: Education & Training

Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives operate alongside Electric Cooperatives around the world according to a core set of Principles. These Principles, along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their members, make Electric Cooperatives different from other electric utilities.

The fifth Principle of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives is Education, Training and Information. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Education, Training and Information means that:

“Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so that they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation (source).”

Barry Hart, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives explains that Cooperatives have always valued education and training: 

“The early pioneers that established Cooperatives felt it was important to educate and train not only the employees of the particular Cooperative,” says Hart, “but also the membership.”

One example of how Missouri Electric Cooperatives provide education and training to Member-Owners is CYCLE: The Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience. CYCLE brings 80 Missouri high school seniors together each July for three days of learning about electric cooperatives, Missouri government, and leadership skills. Combined with Missouri Youth Tour, ongoing employee training, and community safety programs, your Electric Cooperatives hold this principle close to heart! 

Read more about the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives’ Youth Programs.

Hart says that Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives train employees and Member-Owners all year round:

“We train all the time,” he explains, “either through Rural Missouri — the statewide publication you receive as a Member, or through projects like this [this video] where we try to communicate what a Cooperative is to you.”

Through Education, Training and Information, Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives inform the public, including youth and Member-Owners, about the benefits of Cooperatives. From youth programs to employee training to public outreach, your local Cooperative is invested in the fifth Cooperative Principle: Education, Training and Information. 

How to Join Your Missouri Electric Cooperative

If you’d like to become #aMemberOwner of one of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, contact the Missouri Electric Cooperative in your community. You can find a list of Missouri’s more than 30 Electric Cooperatives, including links to their websites, here.


Fill out this form and receive an #aMemberOwner sticker to show your pride of ownership and being a part of rural Missouri!

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