Cannabis Industry Workforce Development

Submitted by Jessica Crouse, Director of Seneca Nation Cannabis Department

The Cannabis Industry has been growing by leaps and bounds, and institutions of higher education have responded by developing curriculum to build a skilled workforce. It must be noted that for most cannabis industry jobs, one must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.

Skills needed to be successful in the long-term can be cultivated via hands-on learning, online learning, and on-the-job training. However, there are some skill sets that may require more involvement, for example: culinary certification which includes nationally accredited food safety curriculum; a horticulture degree/certificate to include a Pesticide Applicator Training Certificate; and a cannabis laboratory technician that qualifies for work in an accredited laboratory, just to name a few.

The Seneca Nation’s Cannabis Department would like to invite those in the community that are interested in any of the following programs to give us a call or to just drop by our offices and chat about the cannabis industry in-general. For, we have been in-contact with each of these respective program leaders and educational staff to gather the details and proper contacts to help you get started!

Here are some higher education opportunities:

Culinary Cannabis and Edibles Certificate – Niagara Falls Culinary Institute

• Format: Lecture, in-person – Fall Semester, Mondays 3- 4:40pm
• Course covers: legal, financial, and societal issues; laws that govern cannabis distribution, cultivation, possession, and consumption for adults and medical patients; history of cannabis; plant anatomy; concentrates and extracts; the human endocannabinoid system; cannabis terpenes; culinary cannabis industry math; and cannabis shopping/cooking.
• Pre-requisites: ServSafe® Certificate or 8 hours in food safety and sanitation
• Note: do not need to be a matriculated student

Horticulture Certificate and Associate of Applied Sciences Degree – Niagara County Community College

• Program is ideal for aspiring: master growers, cultivators, propagators, pest management specialists, operations managers, postharvest technicians, production managers, and quality control technicians.
• Required coursework: Advanced First Aid & CPR; Business Management; Externship; Plant Biology; Soil Science; and Plant Protections (Integrated Pest Management) includes NYS 30-hour Pesticide Applicator Training Certificate.
• 12-18 credits as electives from: Biology of Cannabis; Business of Cannabis; Cannabis Pest Management; Cannabis Production; and Greenhouse Management.
• Note: Some cannabis-based courses may be available on a non-credit/non-degree basis through the NCCC Office of Workforce Development.

Cultivation Technician & Cannabis Laboratory Technician – Individual Studies Certificate Programs — State University of New York (SUNY) Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC)

• Cultivation Technician – 2 semesters, 15 credits
Fall: Computer Applications (3), Industrial Automations and Robotics I (3), General Chemistry I (4), Career Success (1), Career Search (1).
Spring: Special Topics – Hydroponics (3), Biology of Animals and Plants or Biology (3), Career Search (1), and Collaborative Career Learning (8).

• Cannabis Laboratory Technician – 3 semesters, 34 credits
Fall: Computer Applications (3), Industrial Automations and Robotics I (3), General Chemistry I (4), Career Success (1), Career Search (1).
Spring: Industrial Automations and Robotics II (3), Construction and Facilities Maintenance I (3), and Collaborative Career Learning II or Restrictive Electives with permission from faculty (8).

Cannabis Studies (Industry) Minor – SUNY Morrisville
• Note: Program aligns well with bachelor’s degree in horticulture, agriculture and natural science.
• Coursework/opportunities: year-round learning, indoor and outdoor growing, tissue culture labs, hydroponics, organic farming, botany, agricultural science, horticulture, processing techniques, marketing capabilities and evaluations, and business programs.
• Program has: 15-acre CBD hemp plot; 30-acre hemp grain plot; 10-acre hemp fiber plot; and partnerships with New York State (NYS) processors for hands-on learning opportunities.

Certificate Programs: Business of Cannabis, Agriculture and Horticulture, Law and Policy, Healthcare and Medicine – University of Illinois Springfield (UIS)

• Format: Non-credit online certificates; each certificate program includes three (3), eight-week fully online courses.
• Cost: $2,500 each certificate
Business of Cannabis – covers seed-to-sale
Agriculture and Horticulture – cannabis production, management, and cultivation.
Law and Policy – options to specialize in — agriculture, entrepreneurial, or healthcare.
Healthcare and Medicine – Cannabis 101 to Integrated Clinical Practice

The Cannabis Department’s office is located at:

Seneca Allegany Administration Building, 90 Ohi:yo’ Way, Salamanca, NY 14779 – 2nd Floor next to Human Resources

Please enter building via the front doors and adhere to any current Seneca Nation COVID-19 protocols. Or, you may also call us at (716) 945-1790. Or, email us at SNCannabisDept@sni.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Director, Jessica Crouse
Compliance Officer, Roland Jimerson