NJ partners with Rowan University on cannabis workforce development program

Customers make purchases at Apothecarium Dispensary in New Jersey
Customers make purchases at Apothecarium Dispensary on April 21, 2022, the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in the state of New Jersey. Photo credit Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

GLASSBORO, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Rowan University and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development are collaborating on an apprentice program to help people learn the skills necessary for a career in the state’s marijuana industry.

Officials with both say this is a great way for people to get started on a new career.

“Those 20 spots that we’re funding with this are just going to be the tip of the iceberg, with the amount of response we’ve seen, with the businesses we’ve seen,” said Tony Lowman, Rowan’s vice president of academic affairs. “And quite honestly, we’re going to attract people here from outside of South Jersey for this program.”

Labor Commissioner Robert Asero-Angelo says the state is providing a $325,000 grant to fund the program.

“We have many employers who are already at the table for this, so it’s not, as my old boss used to say, ‘train and pray.’ It’s training, and put into a job right away,” Asaro-Angelo said. “So the retail apprenticeship is going to not only give workers skills for the cannabis industry but also skills that can follow them to wherever they go.”

Loud Wellness LLC, which is building a facility in Glassboro, will provide the hands-on training. Rowan College of South Jersey will oversee enrollment of apprentices, track training, provide recruitment, ensure retention, and provide basic skills training, assessments and industry-recognized credentials for adult learners

“With both medical and recreational cannabis now legal in our state, organized labor looks forward to partnering with academia, business and government to craft a program to ensure the best-trained workforce and quality jobs are the standard in the cannabis industry,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

“We are super excited, not just about this program but so many others with workforce development in South Jersey with new industries, be it cannabis or offshore wind,” Asero-Angelo said.

Officials say the Gloucester County Workforce Development Board will provide outreach to targeted populations while also working on recruitment, apprentice onboarding and training.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images