YOUNGSTOWN — Eastern Gateway Community College has partnered with a Ventura, Calif.-based cannabis education program to offer three new certificates for seed-to-sale learning in the fast-growing cannabis industry.
Green Flower and EGCC have already begun to offer the courses for the cultivation technician, manufacturing agency and dispensary associate certificates.
“Eastern Gateway has always been an innovative and creative institution in the area of looking at what industries are growing,” said Art Daly, senior vice president for EGCC’s Youngstown campus. “We want to be in those spaces. We were blessed enough to meet up with their team and have a dialogue on creating opportunities in one of the fastest growing industries in the nation … .”
Each certificate program takes eight weeks and is offered fully online. Students can register and begin the courses that cost $900 at any time. Once completed, graduates will have access to Green Flower’s partnership with careersincannabis.com, a job placement platform for the industry. Everyone who achieves a credential with Green Flower are automatically elevated to the top of the job board.
The arrangement with EGCC is Green Flower’s first partnership in Ohio.
“What we do as a business, we partner with higher education institutions to power their cannabis programs. We only select, basically, a few schools in each state where we see an opportunity to support the burgeoning cannabis industry, so that is what brought us to Art,” said Max Simon, Green Flower CEO.
Ohio is a market with great potential because of its successful and well-regulated medical marijuana program that Simon expects to expand into legalizing adult recreational use.
“Where things get exciting and exponential is where adult use comes online and what we know with certainty, once you have a medical program in a state that is going well, which is what is happening in Ohio, it’s literally only a matter of time before that transitions over to an adult use market,” Simon said.
“When that happens, you’ll often see an already growing market (have) 300 to 500 percent growth in just the very first year of execution and an enormity of new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities,” Simon said.
The courses are non-credit and offered through EGCC’s career accelerator department. They are not eligible for federal financial aid or covered as part of EGCC’s Gateway Guarantee of free college benefit programs.
The cultivation certificate is “all about how to compliantly grow cannabis,” said Simon, while the manufacturing certificate is about “how do you take the plant and translate it into different products.”
“Once the products are done, whether it’s a flower grown by a cultivator or a product manufactured by a manufacturer, now we have the dispensary associate certificate, which is teaching people to interface with customers, how to provide good recommendations and service and how to run a compliant retail business,” Simon said.
Each program offers skills learning for entry-level to managerial positions.
EGCC already has taken the first steps to start to build relationships with a local dispensary owner on the possibility of internships.
“We’re looking at a long-term career in this industry could yield you somewhere between $60,000 to $70,000, and that is just in our region,” Daly said.