By Nell Withers McCauley, CCC, Communications Advisor, SEDC

In the recent months, you may have welcomed a new communicator to your staff or to a neighboring cooperative. Co-ops hire approximately 5,000 employees per year, we anticipate hiring approximately 25,000 over the next 5 years. There are about 15,000 people eligible to retire over the next 5 years.

Many of those new employees will have cooperative communications duties given the increased importance of the role of the Cooperative Communicator. As certified cooperative communicators, we can reach out to these new communicators and help provide them with concise and accurate information to make them more comfortable in their new role. One of the early steps I recommend to any new or seasoned communicator new to their role as a cooperative communicator is to attend The New Co-Op Communicator Orientation. Due to high demand, this orientation is offered twice a year.

The three-day program provides a foundation on which cooperative communicators can build their career. I had the opportunity to participate in the fall 2017 and spring 2018 sessions. After attending, I was able to reflect on the importance of attending the NCCO early in my career. I left both sessions energized by the extremely talented new crop of communicators. This unique training opportunity helps them decode the alphabet soup of acronyms that pepper our industry, network with other professional cooperative communicators, understand electricity basics, discuss major challenges, and learn about the industry and resources.

Do you know a new cooperative communicator? If so, I highly recommend telling them about one of NRECA’s most popular training sessions - the NCCO. The interactive and often hands-on opportunity focuses on several key areas:

  • Understanding the electric cooperative business model and values
  • Current and near-future electric industry issues and challenges
  • Available resources: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA); National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC); and Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange
  • Interactive sessions to provide focus on: crisis communication, Always On program, financial issues and resources, insurance/loss control/safety issues, networking tools, and Touchstone Energy initiatives.

Another valuable benefit is the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country and from NRECA headquarters. I can still remember being empowered by the session during the day and exploring the nation’s capital at night with classmates I consider my friends to this day. Please note the dates for fall and spring sessions below. There are a few slots still open for the Spring 2019 Class, so I encourage new communicators to sign up soon.

Spring 2019 NCCO

March 18, 2018 - March 22, 2018 Arlington, VAh

Fall 2019 NCCO

September 24, 2018 - September 27, 2018 Arlington, VAh