Who We Are and How We Operate

  • Who We Are
    • Mission: We support and enhance the work of our members by providing programs and services to meet their needs.
    • Vision: By striving to be innovative, collaborative and responsive, we will be the premiere service agency for our members.
    • Values: Service. Integrity. Respect.
    • Brand Promise: SWWC is dedicated to providing unparalleled education and administrative services, innovative solutions and uncompromising support to our members and the communities we serve with integrity, respect and responsive action.
    • Diversity Statement:  SWWC’s mission is to support and enhance the work of our members by providing programs and services to meet their needs.  To support and enhance all of our members, we need to embrace and celebrate all of our members.  SWWC works to identify unique frameworks within the various communities we serve and actively responds by adjusting our practices to meet the ever changing needs.  We strive to recruit diverse and inclusive teams that will have a positive impact on our programs and services and help us better serve our members, customers and employees.
    How We Operate
    No state or local tax dollars are used to fund our programs and services. Operating revenue is derived from membership fees and grants. We invite corporate and foundation sponsorship of student and adult enrichment programs and services. We are customer driven, cost effective, and entrepreneurial - and we value and practice initiative, ingenuity, and creativity! Explore our website and learn more about the unique programs and services we offer our members.

General Information

Our History

  • cover of 50th book
    Cooperative activities in the 1960s included a series of meetings beginning in Morris in 1965 that led in 1966 to the creation of the SW/WC Educational Research and Development Council (ERDC). The ERDC was independently organized by area school superintendents who were willing, without federal support, to develop a dues structure to fund the council.
    The ERDC was succeeded in 1973 by a pilot organization authorized by the state legislature, the SW/WC Educational Service Area (ESA). The Educational Media Center, begun by the Montevideo School District with a 1965 Title II grant, was donated by that district to the ESA.

    The ESA was so successful that in 1976 the legislature expanded the concept to all regions of the state, and renamed the agencies ECSUs (Educational Cooperative Service Units). Governor's Planning Regions 6 & 8 combined to form one administrative entity and the SW/WC ESA became the SW/WC ECSU on July 1, 1976.

    Since then, the rest of the state's regions formed their own ECSUs, for a total of nine in Minnesota.

    The purpose of the ECSUs is to perform educational planning on a regional basis and to assist in meeting children's specific educational needs that may be better provided for by an ECSU than by the individual districts.

    The 1992 State Legislature changed the enabling legislation for ECSUs to provide services to cities, counties, and other governmental units. This legislative change reflects the state's attitude toward government operating in an effective manner.

    On July 1, 1995, through legislative action, the Minnesota ECSUs became Service Cooperatives. The Service Cooperatives' Board of Directors officially named Regions 6 and 8 the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperatives on August 23, 1995.