HCBS Workforce Development Grant application for direct care professionals to develop employee-owned cooperatives 

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The Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) seeks direct care workers who provide home and community based services (HCBS) for people with disabilities and older adults to apply for the HCBS Workforce Development cooperatives grant. The grant will award selected groups up to a total of $90,000, split over two years, to help direct care workers establish their own employee-owned cooperative businesses (or transition a current business to an employee-owned cooperative). 

An employee-owned cooperative is:

A business that is jointly owned and democratically controlled by some or all of its employees. No one can own more than one share of the business- 1 member, 1 share. Profits are shared equitably based upon the employee-owner’s labor contributions. The cooperative has a Board of Directors that is comprised of employee—owners, which is elected by the coop members.

About the grant

The grant was established to address challenges related to attracting and maintaining direct care workers who provide HCBS for people with disabilities and older adults. There are several grant initiatives being funded through the workforce grant, one of them being the employee-owned cooperatives grant opportunity. The cooperatives grant opportunity is intended to help current direct care workers gain more control over their work environment through the employee-owned cooperative business model.  

Availability

There are ten employee-owned cooperatives grants available. Grants will be competitive. Grant money will be distributed on an as-needed basis, pending approval from the state-appointed vendor, MCCD. 

Usage

Grant funds must be used to support the development and sustainability of the employee-owned health or human services cooperatives. Business development efforts include, but are not limited to: 

  • Legal advice
  • Licensing fees 
  • Specialized consulting services from business experts 
  • Business equipment and supplies 
  • Insurance costs 
  • Beginning staff salaries (while waiting for reimbursement from the state of Minnesota) 
  • Payroll or other software 
  • Employee training 
  • Building rental expenses. 

Other assistance

In addition to the employee-owned cooperatives grants, MCCD will provide culturally relevant business development and technical assistance services to the cooperatives, including but not limited to: 

  • Supporting the cooperatives as they develop and monitor business plans. 
  • Providing in-person and virtual classroom-based entrepreneurial training. 
  • Providing one-on-one business counseling. 
  • Providing technical assistance services, such as connecting cooperatives with specialists and other resources as needed.  

Pursuant to Minn. Session Laws – 2021, 1st Special Session, Article 17, Sec. 20, groups are eligible to apply for this employee-owned cooperatives grant if: 

  • At least one cooperative member is both: 
  • Your cooperative will provide at least one HCBS service for people with disabilities or older adults. 
  • Your cooperative will have at least five members, and at least five members are not part of the same family as any other cooperative member.  

Required documentation for applicants

If your application is selected to move forward, before receiving initial funding, you will be required to submit:  

  • A state or federal photo ID copy for each cooperative member 
  • Documentation demonstrating that at least one member meets the eligibility requirements  
  • Confirmation that each cooperative member who will be providing direct care can pass a DHS background check 
  • Signatures from all cooperative members on the “We attest…” statements listed in the next section (however, only one or two members need to sign the attestations in this application to be considered for the grant). 

Throughout the program, you will be required to submit:  

  • Data on the cooperative member’s current work environments, including but not limited to wages and benefits, to use as a cross comparison to evaluate the success of the program 
  • Data on the cooperative’s membership, business activities, revenues and profits, people served and other information to evaluate the success of the cooperative  
  • A background check for each cooperative member. 

While a background check will not be required to start the grant project, please keep in mind that a background check is required as a part of the HCBS licensing process. Failure to pass the background check and/or subsequent failure to start a cooperative will require the grant recipients to reimburse MCCD for grant funds received. Please note that not all criminal convictions will disqualify you. Please visit this site for more specific information: Background studies / Minnesota Department of Human Services (mn.gov)

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Direct care professionals who would like to apply for the HCBS Workforce Development Grant program for employee-owned cooperatives should complete this form. For more information about the grant itself, go to the HCBS Workforce Development Grants page. If you have questions, contact the state-appointed grant vendor, the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), at info@mccdmn.org. 
Applicant information 
Provide the following as part of your application (required).  Who is the primary contact for your cooperative group?  











Tell us about your group (required) 






Additional questions (optional)
It is helpful to MCCD and DHS to know if applicants are part of a targeted organization or underrepresented community (for a description, visit the DHS Grants and RFPs webpage). Your answers to these questions are appreciated but not required. Be sure to ask the other members of your group how they would each answer these questions. Do not make assumptions about gender, ethnicity, race or language based on appearances.  
How many of the cooperative members self-identify: 








Signatures and attestations
Attestation 
For the person completing this form 
  • I attest that all members of my cooperative, listed in this application, gave me their permission to sign on their behalf as their authorized representative for the purpose of applying for the cooperative development grant.
  • I attest that I consulted with all other cooperative members before entering their names onto this form. 
  • I attest the information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that providing false information may result in a requirement that the cooperative repay to the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) any funding received through this grant.
  • We [cooperative/group name] attest that we will reimburse MCCD for grant funds received if we do not establish a cooperative by June 30, 2024 that provides HCBS services to people with disabilities or older adults. Establish means our cooperative business/nonprofit has started to receive reimbursement from the state of Minnesota for HCBS services rendered.
  • We [cooperative/group name] attest that we will reimburse MCCD for grant funds received if we do not make good faith effort to provide quality, person-centered services throughout the grant period.
  • We [cooperative/group name] attest that we will reimburse MCCD for grant funds received if we lose our HCBS license before June 30, 2024, due to fraud, maltreatment, abuse, neglect or other licensing violation.
  • We [cooperative/group name] attest we will not sell our cooperative business or nonprofit within three years of receiving grant funds. However, exceptions might be made for verifiable and unavoidable financial hardship, subject to the discretion of MCCD. If we sell the cooperative and are not given an exception from MCCD, we agree to reimburse MCCD for the full grant amount.
  • We [cooperative/group name] attest that we will only use grant funds for the purpose of supporting the development and sustainability of our cooperative as described in the application.