Northern Essex Community College Begins Offering 8-Week Cannabis Industry Certificate Courses

In the Advanced Dispensary Associate Program students learn the ins and outs of working in cannabis sales. (Courtesy photograph.)

Northern Essex Community College is taking registrations for three cannabis industry-related certificate courses.

It is the first community college in northeastern Massachusetts to offer job training in the industry, offering Advanced Manufacturing Agent, Advanced Dispensary Associate Program and Advanced Cultivation Technician Program. The courses are administered by Ventura, Calif.-based Green Flower.

“At NECC, we are committed to offering training for upwardly mobile jobs and responding to the need of the local industry. We’re excited for this latest collaboration which was two years in the making and includes many partnerships,” says Northern Essex Vice President of Institutional Advancement Allison Dolan-Wilson.

Northern Essex is partnering with cannabis businesses, including, locally, Stem Haverhill, Happy Valley of Boston and Gloucester and Salisbury Cultivation and Product Manufacturing locally; multi-state operators AYR Wellness and Coast Cannabis Co.; and others. These partnerships add opportunities as job fairs and experiential learning opportunities.

Caroline Pineau of Stem, 124 Washington St. , Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

“Cannabis worker training programs at community colleges can play a vital role in this new industry by providing technical skills for those wishing to explore careers in the cannabis field,” says Caroline Pineau, owner of Stem Haverhill. “Additionally, it helps the industry by providing skilled workers, which is the basis of growth for any industry.  Northern Essex Community College deserves enormous credit for offering these programs.”

The three certificate courses at Northern Essex are offered online, each taking eight weeks to complete. Coursework is self-paced within that timeframe and students may begin at any time throughout the year.

All three courses start with the basics of compliance. Advanced Manufacturing Agent students go on to learn about cannabis processing and manufacturing cannabis-infused products. The Advanced Cultivation Technician Program explores botany and best practices for growing and cultivating cannabis plants and Advanced Dispensary Associate Program students learn the ins and outs of working in cannabis sales.

According to statistics from Green Flower, the cannabis industry creates an average of 280 jobs per day and now employs more than 450,000 people nationwide. But, with such rapid growth has come a shortage of well-trained people with the knowledge, skills and credibility required to operate in such a highly regulated, deeply complex industry.

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