HCC, New Community Partner Launch Cannabis Careers Training Program

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and its new community partner, Elevate Northeast, are launching a revitalized cannabis careers training program in October for those who want to work in the industry.

The program, offered through the Cannabis Education Center, begins the weekend of Oct. 17-18 with two days of required core curriculum training over Zoom. The cost of the two-day core training session is $595. To register, visit hcc.edu/cannabis-core.

Each day will be broken down into two sessions: 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. Each session will include presentations from cannabis-industry experts followed by a question-and-answer period.

Students who complete the core training will then be eligible to register for spring 2021 classes in one of four cannabis-industry career tracks: cultivation assistant, extraction technician, patient-services associate, or culinary assistant.

Cultivation assistants provide daily care of crops from seed to harvest and may be involved in cracking seeds, soil mixing, potting, defoliation, watering, pest control, and trimming.

Extraction technicians work in labs, assisting production managers in all aspects of extraction, purging, oil manipulation, winterization, distillation, solvent recovery, and quality control.

Patient-service associates work behind the counters at cannabis dispensaries, interacting with the public, answering technical questions, and providing information to registered cannabis patients, caregivers, and recreational customers making purchases.

Culinary assistants are responsible for preparing cannabis or cannabidiol-infused products using a variety of cooking, baking, and infusion techniques.

A previous series of cannabis-industry training courses offered by HCC and the Cannabis Education Center were suspended in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“HCC is proud to partner with Elevate for the sole purpose of helping job seekers get the training they need to successfully enter the cannabis industry,” said Jeffrey Hayden, HCC’s vice president of Business and Community Services. “At the same time, we look forward to enhancing and expanding our relationships with cannabis companies in Holyoke and other communities throughout the region. Our goal is to help individuals gain employment while meeting the demand of area businesses.”

Dates for the spring career-track training sessions have not yet been announced.