Cannabis programs on the rise

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

More community colleges are developing courses to prepare students for the booming cannabis industry.

Oakton Community College in Illinois launched in the fall a new cannabis dispensary and patient care specialist certificate. The certificate is the first college-credit career certificate for the fast-growing medical cannabis industry offered by a community college, according to Oakton, and aligns with state and federal laws that regulate cannabis distribution to clients.

The 12-credit hour program trains students for entry-level employment in the medical cannabis health field and offers continued professional development and training for current dispensary professionals. Oakton’s curriculum also helps students gain a thorough understanding of the laws, regulations and business operations in the industry.

More than 100 students are enrolled in the program.

The college also announced in December an agreement Northern Michigan University (NMU) that creates a first-of-its-kind educational pathway for students seeking to enter niche science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas of the emerging cannabis industry. The new transfer partnership creates a pathway from Oakton to NMU for students to earn a bachelor’s degree tailored to the cannabis industry.

Students who transfer from Oakton to NMU with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher will qualify for a $5,600 transfer scholarship, which reduces tuition to the in-state level.

Elsewhere, Massachusetts’ Holyoke Community College is partnering with the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network to help close the skills gap in the local cannabis industry. Together, they’re opening the Cannabis Education Center on HCC’s campus. It will include four areas of training: culinary, cultivation, extraction and patient advocate. Internships are built in to the program, too.

Registration opened this week for two job-training programs offered at the center.

Is your college planning a cannabis-related program? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.