New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced July 18 that the state will provide $5 million in grants to public colleges to fund cannabis education.
The grant funding, given to SUNY and CUNY community colleges, will help them establish credential programs or courses that will ultimately boost employment in New York’s cannabis industry.
“New York’s new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have the quality training they need to be successful,” Hochul said in a public statement. “Diversity and inclusion are what makes New York’s workforce a competitive, powerful asset, and we will continue to take concrete steps to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry.”
The state awarded the grants on a competitive basis within the SUNY and CUNY systems, according to Hochul’s announcement, with multiple campuses partnering with one college that will assume the lead role.
The following three SUNY campuses will each receive $1 million in funding:
- Schenectady County Community College, which will partner with Adirondack Community College, Columbia-Greene Community College and Fulton-Montgomery Community College with an anticipated 300 participants;
- Niagara County Community College, which will partner with Erie Community College, Genesee Community College and Jamestown Community College with an anticipated 4,000 participants; and
- Orange County Community College, which will partner with Dutchess Community College, Rockland Community College, Sullivan County Community College, Ulster County Community College, and Westchester Community College with an anticipated 200 participants.
The CUNY campus selected for grant funding is Borough of Manhattan Community College, which will receive $2 million and partner with Lehman College with an anticipated 360 participants.
“I am thankful to Gov. Hochul and our partners at SUNY and CUNY community colleges for developing programs that will help develop a diverse, equitable and accessible New York cannabis industry,” Cannabis Control Board (CCB) Chair Tremaine Wright said in a public statement. “As our cannabis industry grows, so does our need for skilled workers, and this is a wonderful way to create opportunities for New Yorkers.”
The selected campuses must partner with local employers in the industry and receive their feedback when developing curriculums, according to Hochul’s announcement.
In addition, the campuses will be supported by start-up funds for three years, and the New York State Department of Labor and the Office of Cannabis Management will help connect businesses and job seekers with the training programs.
The department will also help those who complete the programs to build their resumes and prepare for job interviews.
The cannabis credentialing program aims to further Hochul’s commitment to creating new employment opportunities in New York, especially for those in historically underserved communities, while providing local employers with a skilled workforce, according to the announcement.
The colleges will also serve the social equity licensing applicants defined by New York’s Office of Cannabis Management.
Hochul announced a “Seeding Opportunity Initiative” earlier this year to prioritize those most impacted by the war on drugs in New York’s adult-use cannabis licensing process.
The CCB formally approved regulations last week that will ultimately govern adult-use sales and the licensing program that will prioritize applicants with past cannabis-related convictions.
“As we work to get our cannabis industry up and running in New York State, we must ensure that we have a properly trained workforce and a pathway for employment opportunities,” said Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado in a public statement. “This funding will ensure that SUNY and CUNY can create new or enhance existing programs that target employment within the cannabis industry."