Illinois’ Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program Sets Stage for Students Eager to Enter Industry

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<![CDATA[The Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program managed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture was created as a solution to prepare students for a career growing, studying or working in the cannabis industry. When Project Evolve students were accepted into the Cannabis Dispensary Operations program at Olive-Harvey, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, hopes were high. The Project Evolve program provides qualifying students with full scholarships and resources that lead them to high-wage and in-demand occupations, with Cannabis Dispensary Operations being one of nine areas of study to choose from. Olive-Harvey’s certificate is one of two City Colleges of Chicago cannabis certificates under the Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program. Wilbur Wright Community College offers a Cannabis Technician Program with a focus on processing, infusing and testing. The pilot program is seen as a component of broader workplace training platforms for the cannabis industry—as well as a piece of the Illinois social equity vision.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, Black Americans had the highest rates of unemployment in the nation at 6.3% in the first quarter. Black Illinois residents, in particular, saw an increase in unemployment rates from 6.7% in Q1 to 20.7% in Q2. These statistics are significant because workforce development programs are charged with providing skills training to address the low-wage worker paradigm and unemployment/underemployment cycles in which Black workers seem to be stuck. Many students were expecting the growth of the adult-use cannabis industry to create a pathway to entry-level positions, and certificate completion was the first step in that direction. As of May 2020, Illinois ranked 10th in the nation for legal marijuana jobs, according to a Leafly report. Illinois has 9,176 legal marijuana jobs and is estimated to grow that number to 63,000 by 2025, according to New Frontier Data, with an expectation…

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Source : Illinois’ Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program Sets Stage for Students Eager to Enter Industry

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