NJ’s Cannabis Apprenticeship Training Initiative seeks apprentices

NJ’s Cannabis Apprenticeship Training Initiative seeks apprentices


New Jersey’s Cannabis Apprenticeship Training Initiative—one of the nation’s first programs dedicated to training workers in the growing cannabis retail field—is gearing up to welcome its first group of 20 students this summer.

A pilot program uniquely presented by a broad consortium committed to workforce development in the state, the Cannabis Apprenticeship Training Initiative will provide industry-specific training for employees in the cannabis retail sector. The apprenticeship program is unregistered because cannabis currently is not legal at the federal level.

One of the nation’s fastest-growing industries, the cannabis industry is expected to reach $100 billion in annual sales by 2030. The goal of the program is to educate and train workers to help cannabis businesses in New Jersey thrive and to build pathways for employees, particularly those in marginalized communities.

The Cannabis Apprenticeship Training Initiative consortium includes the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), Rowan University, Rowan College of South Jersey, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 360, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, the Gloucester County Workforce Development Board, and Loud Wellness, Inc. of Glassboro.

Through $325,000 in funding from the NJDOL, the program will offer training to apprentices by industry professionals who have worked in a dispensary setting. Topics will include OSHA 30 card for cannabis and cannabis site safety, dispensary operations, customer service and sales, cash control, product control, and seed to sale.

Local residents interested in the program should register online to receive additional information about the program.

The one-year apprenticeship will include 144 hours of classroom instruction, both in-person and online, plus 2,000 hours on the job with an employer. Apprentices can be from anywhere in New Jersey.

While Rowan University is coordinating and developing education and training curricula for the retail program, the University is working with the UFCW and AFL-CIO on developing models for additional cannabis apprenticeships in cultivation, manufacturing and distribution.

The Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee will evaluate and screen candidates for the program. Candidates can either be recommended for the program by their employer in the cannabis industry or can be private citizens interested in seeking industry-specific training to work in the cannabis retail field.

The joint committee will track training, recruit, ensure retention in the apprenticeship program, while RCSJ will provide basic skills training, assessments and industry-recognized credentials for all learners.

Both Rowan and RCSJ are exploring the best ways to build pathways to degree programs through the apprenticeship.

For additional information on the apprenticeship program, contact Freddy Herrera, Cannabis Apprenticeship Coordinator for UFCW Local 360, at 856-312-3032 or cannaship360@ufcw360.org.