The worker cooperative model offers benefits for the worker such as enhanced control and wealth building, benefits for the business such as reduced employee turnover, and benefits for society such as democratization of wealth. This business model seems suitable for addressing the needs of Jonestown’s population of disengaged young people because it offers an opportunity at ownership that can incentivize them to overcome their feelings of hopelessness.
- Café or Coffee Shop (for profit): A café cooperative would target job creation in food services, the number one industry employing Baltimore City youth as well as address a lack of supply of small restaurants in Jonestown.
- Laundromat (for profit): The Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, OH are an example of a successful worker cooperatives that target meeting the needs of the city’s anchor institutions. The Evergreen Cooperative Laundromat gives local residents an opportunity to build wealth through ownership of an enterprise that provides environmentally conscientious laundry services. Baltimore’s hospital and university anchor institutions could similarly provide demand for this type of service, and Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s Baltimore City Anchor Plan provides incentives for these institutions to source services locally.
- Affordable Auto Sales (non-profit): An concept analogous to Habitat for Humanity can be applied to a non-profit auto dealership in Jonestown. An enterprise designed to sell low cost automobiles that have been donated for tax write-offs can employ young people in Jonestown. The enterprise can be set up to reward committed workers with credit toward receiving a donated vehicle. This type of organization can teach young people business and sales skills while attracting engagement by offering the liberation that comes with vehicle ownership. This population of workers would be otherwise unlikely to possess the means to experience the opportunities that come with the mobility a personal vehicle offers.