Document Type

Research Progress Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The opportunities for self-empowerment and economic justice found in the worker cooperative structure may be especially relevant for people with disabilities, who as a population tend to experience extraordinarily high rates of unemployment. People with disabilities already successfully engage in a wide range of employment and self-employment situations (Seekins & Arnold, 1996; Shelley, 1999). Employment within a worker cooperative structure carries many benefits for people with disabilities and requires only a few carefully structured adaptations. Benefits include fair wages and an equitable share of profits; authority to manage the business in the best interest of the worker-members; a community-friendly business philosophy; and a tend toward more equitable distribution of income and wealth.


employment and vocational rehabilitation, economic development, worker cooperatives, rural, disability

Granting Agency

U.S. Department of Agriculture; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


This work was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business-Cooperative Service Cooperative Agreement Number RBS-99-17, with additional support from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant #H133B70017-01.

Project Number

DoA: RBS-99-17; NIDRR: H133B70017-01