One of U-POWER's major goals is to facilitate a community of practice, or "a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly" (Wenger and Lave, 1991). U-POWER's community of practice is dedicated to achieving safe, healthy, and equitable work.
Individuals in the community of practice may be any of the following:
- Key personnel in U-POWER
- Faculty, staff, and students at the University of Utah that engage with and support U-POWER
- Partners and stakeholders from diverse groups and organizations, including the NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) Program and Centers of Excellence in TWH, researchers, community groups, labor organizations, and workers who share concerns about workers’ safety, health, and well-being
"It seems that nothing promotes efficient, deep, and direct learning better than a personal mentor. Why not tap into a network full of them? A “community of practice” brings together individuals with a shared interest through a structure that encourages deep listening and results in a very direct exchange of knowledge."
Community partners and stakeholders, including individual workers and organizations, are vital to our mission of forming a community of practice. In a community of practice, stakeholders join together to share their specific expertise and form a living body of knowledge. Community partners contribute local knowledge and experience, including the specific needs of a community, that cannot be found in research. Academic scholars can, in turn, offer research and scholarship in support of those needed changes.
Work equity is a complex societal problem "embedded in the historical, sociopolitical, economic, and cultural features of society." A community of practice can together begin to understand these complex and intertwined forces and develop new knowledge in support of change.