The cannabis industry is in desperate need of trained workers as legalization looms.
British Columbia’s Okanagan College has a mandate to serve the interests of businesses in its community. So when licensed cannabis producer Sunniva started building a greenhouse and manufacturing facility in the region, the company reached out to the school in the hopes of forming a partnership. Sunniva knew it would need to hire 200-plus employees for their launch in 2019 and they wanted them specially trained — people who understood the plant biology, the production cycles and the business of cannabis.
Normally, Okanagan creates new courses using information provided by the government to determine what kind of workers are needed and what classes should focus on, but in the fast-moving cannabis industry that wasn’t an option. Instead, the college created an advisory board with their partners to hear straight from the companies themselves — Sunniva and Crop Health, a local crop consulting service — what skills they needed.
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