HCC to offer classes to train people for cannabis economy
HOLYOKE – With the cannabis industry now in its second phase – first medical dispensaries and now adult use recreational facilities – Holyoke Community College (HCC) is anticipating a demand for jobs in the cannabis industry and will start this fall four cannabis workforce training programs.
The college has joined forces with the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) to create these programs. According to the college, the program has been approved by “the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission as a Social Equity Vendor, the partnership aims to prepare workers – particularly those in communities with high levels of poverty and unemployment – for employment opportunities in the newly legal and regulated cannabis market.”
Jeff Hayden, HCC vice president of Business and Community Services, explained to Reminder Publishing that in Holyoke alone 500 new jobs are expected to be created by cannabis.
He said the need for trained people is “a significant demand.”
Hayden added, “It is a very strong and growing industry.” The job offerings are also very diverse, as the classes illustrate. There are classes in Cannabis Cultivation Assistant; Dispensary Patient Advocate/ Bud Tender; Extraction Technician Assistant and Cannabis Culinary Assistant & Infusion Specialist.
The Cannabis Culinary Assistant program will be the first program to launch in fall 2019 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute at the Cubit Building on Race Street. The programs will start in spring 2020.
According to HCC, “The culinary program will consist of 96 hours of skills-based training that will cover job readiness, professional skills, industry background, and Massachusetts laws and regulations. Training will use hemp and other products that simulate cannabis, rather than cannabis itself. In addition, C3RN will provide mentored internships with local legal and operating cannabis dispensaries.”
In a written statement Hayden said, “We will be training students in customer service, cultivation, dosing, cooking, and extraction methods and techniques, but when it is time for students to work with actual product, that will take place offsite through our partner C3RN and local, legal operating dispensaries and cannabis and hemp companies. As the education partner, we want to ensure that local residents and students have access to opportunities – including those in emerging industries such as cannabis and hemp – that lead to jobs.”
Marion McNabb, chief executive officer of C3RN said, “We are thrilled to get started with HCC and cannabis industry partners to collaboratively develop high-quality skills-based workforce training programs that are rooted in evidence and cannabis industry best practices. The first culinary focused program will be offered this fall at the new HCC Culinary Arts Institute in Holyoke. We are utilizing best practices in adult workforce learning, entrepreneurship, and innovation to create training programs that are collaborative with industry partners and meet the needs of the industry and the learner.”
To learn more go to www.cannacenterofexcellence.org/workforce.