Director Education

Cooperative consumer-members are best served by directors who are well-versed in democratic principles and who understand the industry and how this industry can move forward to meet changing demands. 

Their education is the cornerstone of effective self-governance. 

Our bylaws, Section 4.02, require they be certified within their first term of office.

The fifth cooperative principle states that cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees. 

This is so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.

Early co-operators lived in societies where education was reserved for the privileged, but they recognized then, as today, that education was fundamental to transforming their lives – a key to enlightenment and social progress. And they recognized their responsibility to help in the education of their cooperative members and their families by allocating part of their organization’s trading surplus to education. Education was and remains the lifeblood of all cooperatives. It is a driver of cooperative development, and is important across all areas of cooperation.

Serving an average of 18,459 consumers in six counties with assets totaling over $118 million and annual revenues of $43,814,317, CEC is a complicated business in a rapidly changing industry and requires a high level of competence and professionalism. It is critically important for the Director's to receive continued education to become and remain knowledgeable so they can best serve the member owners.

NRECA’s Director Certificate Programs are specifically designed to help electric cooperative directors, at every stage of their service, understand their roles and responsibilities, stay up-to-date on the key issues and trends in the industry and prepare them to meet the challenges facing electric cooperatives now and in the future.

The Director Certificate Programs are offered in three parts, taken in progression from fundamental to advanced:

  1. Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate — The Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) curriculum consists of five courses designed to provide essential knowledge and skills required of cooperative directors: Director Duties & Liabilities, Understanding the Electric Business, Board Operations & Process, Strategic Planning, and Financial Decision-Making.
  2. Board Leadership Certificate (BLC) — For directors who have already completed the Certified Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate, the Board Leadership Certificate (BLC) is the next step in advancing the knowledge and expe​rience directors need to govern their board effectively. The BLC can be attained after earning the CCD and then completing a total of 10 credits from the 900-level courses listed below. The credit value is indicated after the decimal point for each course. For example, course 901.1 provides one (1) credit and course 951.2 provides two (2) credits. Directors may attend BLC courses at any time but the BLC will not be awarded until the CCD program requirements are completed. Directors are free to enroll in any of the courses available in the BLC series. We suggest that all directors complete five specific BLC courses—indicated with a single asterisk (*) in the list below—as part of the 10 credits needed to earn the BLC. These courses cover five subject areas important for every director: the purpose and value of the cooperative business model, bylaws, policy development, ethics, and political engagement. This recommendation does not imply a mandatory requirement and all directors remain free to choose from any of the available BLC courses to satisfy the 10 credits required for the BLC.
  3. Director Gold — This certificate recognizes directors who have earned their CCD and BLC and are committed to continuing their education throughout their service on the board. Director Gold is an addition to NRECA’s Director Education Program – it does not replace or change any of the existing Director Education credentials earned by directors, including the Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) or Board Leadership Certificate (BLC). Directors who have earned their CCD and BLC and have completed 3 BLC credits after earning their BLC, are eligible to receive their Director Gold certificate of completion.

Each course lasts for at least eight hours and is $588 each, a total of $10,584 to achieve a Director Gold certificate. Most of that fee goes towards the instructor and the development of the course and course materials. 

It is very much like taking a college, university, or vocational-technical course. 

Training is imperative and the leaders of the cooperative (Board members, managers, department heads, employees, etc.) MUST stay informed and educated about not only the electric cooperative industry, but the electric utility industry in general. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the Cooperative and its members to be as educated and informed as possible so that the BEST POSSIBLE DECISIONS can be made for the coop and for the coop’s members.

Travel, lodging, and meals are not included in the price of the course and can vary depending on the location.

NRECA also offers director education courses throughout the year in conjunction ​with a variety of NRECA educational conferences and events across the country.

  • Directors Conference — NRECA’s annual Directors Conference offers plenary sessions, classroom instruction and enrichment opportunities through exposure to industry experts, specialized work in small-group learning labs, and interactions with peers.
  • NRECA Annual Meeting — The NRECA Annual Meeting, which attracts upwards of 5,000 members, showcases national and world-class industry, technology and legislative experts. Delegates attending the Annual Meeting set NRECA’s legislative and organizational agenda for the following year. In addition to considering and acting upon policy resolutions, delegates receive reports from NRECA officials, hear addresses by key public figures and business experts, and attend educational forums on major issues affecting electric co-ops and their consumer- owners.
  • Regional Meetings — NRECA Regional Meetings occur each fall across the nation and enable thousands of cooperative leaders to discuss challenges on a grassroots level as well and hear from top-rated speakers.