By Content Carnivores
The cannabis business has created a demand that trade schools hope to fill as they train workers for positions in this emerging field. To imagine the job creation possibilities, think beyond growing and selling. This new industry will need workers in commercial kitchens infusing foods with cannabis, manufacturers providing compliant packaging, and marketing firms promoting startups. The industry’s ancillary businesses will continue to expand the impact the cannabis business has on employment.
The Northeastern Institute of Cannabis is one of many schools preparing students for careers in the cannabis industry. According to The Boston Globe, the NIC is “a two-classroom school in an office park that prepares people for positions ranging from dispensary workers to medical marijuana educators.” With the inaugural opening of dispensaries in Massachusetts next year, this for-profit school has already graduated its first small class of 12 students, with 64 students currently enrolled.
Keith Saunders, a sociology professor, oversees NIC’s curriculum. He said help-wanted ads for medical marijuana workers are regularly posted on Monster.com. He estimated that the 15 provisionally approved dispensaries will each employ 35 to 40 workers.
Northeastern Institute of Cannabis has built its program from learning the needs of dispensary operators in California, Colorado, Maine, and Rhode Island, as well as producers of cannabis, legislators, and industry specialists. NIC has applied for state certification as an occupational trade school.
According to the school’s website, certification is awarded to students who complete 12 four-hour courses, ranging from medical marijuana 101 to cannabis law New England, and also pass a two-hour exam. The full program costs $2,000 and takes four to six weeks to complete.
Other schools are also hoping to train cannabis workers and they are using a variety of teaching methods.
THC University is the first cannabis MOOC school. It is strictly online and offers iPad courses in a virtual community for certifications starting as low as under $100.
“There are currently around 3 million job seekers in the cannabis industry competing for only 75,000 jobs, and most applicants have no experience … . If we expect the cannabis industry to be respected we have to have an educated workforce, and the traditional classroom is not up to the task of educating an entire new industry in the 21st century.” —Matt Jones, President of THC University.
Cannabis Career Institute is an events-driven program held in hotel ballrooms across the country. From CCI’s website, it’s clear the school is aware of the charlatan reputation of many businesses like this, but claims to be different:
“Several marijuana business ‘seminars’ and ‘schools’ are sponsored by equipment manufacturers or lawyers trying to sell their products and services. CCI’s curriculum is not ‘wrapped’ in a sales pitch. Our only goal is to empower you to legally succeed in a way that suits your needs. All of our instructors are industry professionals who objectively provide first-hand knowledge of available techniques. Many of our students go on to become CCI instructors, independent consultants. Our one-time $299 fee allows you to attend CCI seminars anywhere for the rest of your life.”
In addition to these specialized trade schools and training programs, experts expect culinary schools to begin providing cannabis cooking classes and agricultural extensions to offer horticultural training. There may be additional cannabis course tracks as the for-profit education world pumps workers into a boom mentality.