Cannabis Certificate Program Offered at AIC | Connecting Point | Jan. 13, 2019


>>THINK STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE
TO CASH IN IT’S A CERTIFICATE PROGRAM THAT TEACHES STUDENTS
ABOUT A VARIETY OF ASPECTS OF THE INDUSTRY. MIKA NASH EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT OF
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AT AI SAYS KNOW HOW WILL TRANSLATE TO JOBS TO
STUDENTS. SHE SPOKE WITH CARRIE SALDO
ABOUT THE DETAILS.>>THE ONLY WAY THAT WE CAN ONLY
TALK ABOUT IT IS UNDERSTAND IT IN THE BROADER CONTEXT OF AIC. SO AIC WAS A SCHOOL THAT WAS
BUILT ON PROVIDING ACCESS TO PEOPLE WHO HAD TRADITIONALLY
LEFT OUT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND SO WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT
PROVIDING ACCESS TO THESE FOLKS YOU HAVE TO ALSO THINK ABOUT
WHEN YOU BRING PEOPLE IN, WHAT CAN YOU PREPARE THEM FOR? HOW CAN THEY BE SUCCESSFUL WHEN
THEY LEAVE? AND SO WHEN WE’RE LOOKING AT
POTENTIAL PROGRAMS WE’RE LOOKING AT WHERE IS THEIR GROWTH AND
THERE’S TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY. OVER JUST SINCE IT BECAME LEGAL
IN MASSACHUSETTS, IT’S GROWN — IT’S GOING TO BE ABOUT A $420
MILLION BUSINESS BY THE END OF THIS YEAR AND WE’RE LOOKING AT A
BILLION OF REVENUE AND WITH THAT REVENUE THERE’S A TREMENDOUS
NEED FOR PERSONNEL AND STAFFING, PEOPLE WHO ARE STAFFED AND READY
ON THE GROUND AND WE SAW THIS AS AS A MISSION FOR OUR STUDENTS.>>THEY ARE FOR STUDENTS THAT
MIGHT BE FULL AIC STUDENTS AND I THINK MORE TO YOUR POINT PEOPLE
WORKING OUT THERE NOW WHO DON’T WANT TO BE A FULL-TIME STUDENT
SEE THIS PROGRAM AS AN OPPORTUNITY, HAVE YOU HEARD FROM
THOSE PEOPLE AND SEEN INTEREST FROM MORE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAN
EVEN MAYBE MORE OF YOUR FULL-TIME STUDENTS?>>I THINK IT’S BEEN A GOOD
BLEND. I THINK OUR FULL-TIME STUDENTS
ARE SEEING AN INTERESTING OFFERING THAT WE’VE NEVER SEEN
BEFORE. PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE — IN A
VARIETY OF WAYS PEOPLE HAVE HEARD ABOUT IT AND KIND OF
ASKING PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY AND WANT
TO KNOW A BIT MORE AND MAYBE SOME DISINFRANCHISED WORKERS WHO
WANT TO GET INTO AN AREA WHERE THERE’S SO MUCH NEED FOR SKILLED
PROFESSIONALS SO YEAH, WE’RE FIELDING A LOT OF CALLS ABOUT
IT.>>AS I UNDERSTAND IT THE
PROGRAM WILL START TO BEGIN IN THE SPRING WITH ONE COURSE. IT WILL BE A CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
OVERALL AND MAYBE EXPANDING BEYOND THAT. BUT SOME OF THE NUTS AND BOLTS
WHICH IS THE CANNABIS ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM AND THAT’S
THE ONE THAT STARTS IN THE SPRING. WHAT ARE THE BIG NUTS AND BOLTS
ABOUT THAT.>>YEAH, SO THE CERTIFICATE IN
GENERAL IS A THERE-COURSE CERTIFICATE THAT EACH COURSE IS
WORTH 3 CREDITS. THE FIRST COURSE IS
ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSE IS
REALLY FOCUSED ON BOTH THE PRODUCT ITSELF BUT ALSO THE
ANCILLARY BUSINESS AROUND PRODUCTS. SO WE KNOW CANNABIS ITSELF IS A
BURGEONING FIELD BUT THERE ARE OTHER — THERE ARE DELIVERY
METHODS FOR CANNABIS SO YOU LOOK AT GLASS. YOU LOOK AT PREROLLED STUFF AND
MAYBE THE EXTRUDERS IN TERMS OF THE PROCESSING, LAW, BANKING,
YOU KNOW, CLOTHING — ANY — ANYTHING THAT’S RELATED IN SOME
WAY AND SO THAT COURSE LOOKING AT THE THEORY OF
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND APPLIES IT IN A VERY FOCUSED WAY TO
CANNABIS.>>AND SO IS AIC’S THINKING
GOING BACK TO WHAT WE WERE SAYING ORIGINALLY APPEALING NO
THOSE TRADITIONAL AND NONTRADITIONAL STUDENTS IS THE
THINKING NOW, OKAY. YOU GO THROUGH THIS CERTIFICATE
PROGRAM AND YOU CAN GO OUT AND GET A JOB IN THIS INDUSTRY?>>YEAH, YEAH. THAT’S RIGHT. WE’VE BEEN TALKING A LOT TO
CORPORATE FOLKS. IT’S INTERESTING BECAUSE YOU
DON’T THINK ABOUT CANNABIS AS BEING A CORPORATE ENTERPRISE,
YOU KNOW, IT FEELS AT THIS MORE LOOSE.>>IT’S NOT ANYMORE.>>ESPECIALLY COLORADO HAS HAD A
HAND IN THE BUSINESSES ESTABLISHED HERE IN
MASSACHUSETTS.>>THAT’S RIGHT, THAT’S RIGHT. SO WHEN WE TALK TO PEOPLE WHEN
WE TALK TO FOLKS IN CORPORATE THEY NEED HIGH QUALITY
PROFESSIONALS IN THE FIELD WHO CAN IMMEDIATELY CONTRIBUTE
INSTEAD OF NEEDING A LOT OF TRAINING TO GET UP AND RUNNING.>>DO YOU KNOW WHAT’LL BE
TEACHING THE COURSES. IS IT GOING TO BE SOME OF THOSE
PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY?>>YEAH, YEAH, ALTHOUGH OUR
ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSE THE FIRST TIME IT’S BEING TAUGHT IS
BEING TAUGHT BY ONE OF OUR ESTABLISHED TENDERED PROFESSORS
BECAUSE HE’S AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP GUY AND HE’S REALLY PROFESSIONAL
AND CONNECTED TO THE FOLKS IN THE FIELD. SO HE’LL BE GREAT TO START.>>SOME OF THE PIECES THE LEGAL
AND THE ETHICAL PIECE ARE TWO PIECES WHICH PEOPLE ARE
CONCERNED ABOUT MARIJUANA TALK ABOUT A LOT THAT THE LAW WAS
MADE TOO QUICKLY. IT WAS BASICALLY BUILT BY
INTEREST GROUPS AND IS IT GOING TO FALL IN THE HANDS OF
CHILDREN — I KNOW THE CURRICULUM IS STILL BEING BUILT
BUT ARE THOSE THINGS BEING TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT AS YOU’RE BUILDING
IT.>>IT’S THE MOST FASCINATING ONE
FOR ME. THE WHOLE CERTIFICATE IS REALLY
EXCITING BUT THAT COURSE ITSELF IS SO INTERESTING BECAUSE IT
LOOKS AT THE TENSION THAT EXISTS BETWEEN STATE AND FEDERAL LAW
AND THERE’S TREMENDOUS TENSION IN ANY STATE THAT’S GONE LEGAL
AND THEN IT ALSO LOOKS AT EACH COMMUNITY’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE
ORGANIZATION, TO THAT RETAIL AREA BECAUSE THOSE CONTRACTS
REALLY STIPULATE ARTICLES HOW DO WE WANT YOU TO BE IN THIS SPACE? HOW DO WE WANT YOU TO SHOW UP
AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MEMBERS OF THIS COMMUNITY WHICH
IS NOT HAPPENING WITH OTHER BUSINESSES AND I THINK IT’S AN
OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY THINK ABOUT LAW AND POLICY AND HOW
IT’S GOING TO CONTINUE TO EVOLVE AND TO SHIFT AND ALSO TO THINK
ABOUT THE ETHICAL OBLIGATION OF ORGANIZATIONS LIKES, RETAIL
DISPENSARIES AND CONSIDERING WHAT’S MY ETHICAL OBLIGATION TO
THIS COMMUNITY — TO LEAVE IT BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT.>>HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE HAS
ALSO ROLLED OUT A FEW CLASSES RELATED TO MARIJUANA, ARE YOU
COLLABORATING WITH THEM IN ANY WAY OR TALKING TO THEM ABOUT
WHAT YOU’RE DOING.>>THAT IS SO NASCENT AT THIS
POINT. THE HOPE IS THAT WE’LL GET TO A
PLACE — WE WOULD LOVE FOR THEM ONCE THEY ARE — IF THEY
CONSIDER OFFERING FOR CREDIT, THAT’S REALLY — RIGHT NOW WHAT
THEY’RE DOING IT’S MORE CREDIT DEVELOPMENT AND WE’RE LOOKING AT
FOR-CREDIT OFFERINGS SO IF THEY GIVE CREDIT WE WOULD LOVE TO
ARTICULATE AND PROVIDE THAT NEXT STEP FOR THEIR STUDENTS BUT ALL
OF THAT WILL ALL COME AND EVOLVE.>>AND EVENTUALLY YOU WOULD LIKE
TO OFFER A GRADUATE PROGRAM AROUND THIS? WHAT’S THE TIMETABLE FOR THAT?>>IT’S SHORT. THIS IS ANOTHER THING THAT’S
VERY EXCITING SO BECAUSE THE FIELD IS GROWING SO QUICKLY AND
BECAUSE THERE ISN’T A LOT OF FORMAL EDUCATION IN THIS AREA,
WE’D LIKE TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO MARKET AND — IF ALL GOES
WELL THAT WILL ROLL OUT IN THE FALL AND THAT WILL BE A MASTER’S
DEGREE IN THE BUSINESS OF CAN BUSH ADMINISTRATION WITH ABOUT
40% OF IT REALLY FOCUSED ON THE SCIENCE AROUND IT SO LOOKING AT
THE CHEMISTRY, THE DELIVERY METHODS, THE WAY IN WHICH THE
BODY REACTS, YOU KNOW, SOME OF THE THINKING AROUND SECURETIVE
PROPERTIES AND THAT KIND OF THING.>>SO HOW MUCH OF THIS IS A
STANDARD BUSINESS DEGREE THAT YOU WOULD GET FOR ANY BUSINESS
PROGRAM AND HOW MUCH IS IT ROOTED SPECIFICALLY TO THE
MARIJUANA OR CANNABIS INDUSTRY?>>I THINK THE CERTIFICATE AND
THE GRADUATE DEGREE IS REALLY IS — EVERYTHING IS UNDER GERDED
BY THIS THINKING ABOUT BUSINESS. THESE ARE BUSINESS PROGRAMS AND
THE GRADUATE DEGREE WILL HAVE A LOT OF SCIENCE BAKED IN BUT THE
FOCUS — SO YOU’VE GOT THE CENTRAL AT THE NETS — TENETS IN
A BUSINESS WAY AND THEY’RE SPEAKING MUCH MORE IN A LASER
WAY ABOUT CANNABIS BUT AS I THINK ABOUT THE WAYS THESE CAN
BE TWEAKED, YOU HAVE MICROEMERGING CANNABIS ANYTHING
COULD BE PLACED IN THAT SPACE. MAYBE CBD IS NEXT OR MAYBE IT’S
CRAFT BEER OR CHEESES AND IT’S A WAY WE APPLY THESE CONCEPTS TO A
CERTAIN FIELD.>>IN TERMS OF OFFERING OFFERING
THESE NEW PROGRAMS TO PEOPLE HAVE YOU HAD ANY PUSH BACK THAT
MARIJUANA IS NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU SHOULD BE TOUCHING?>>THAT’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE
SOMETHING WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO WRESTLE IT; RIGHT? IT’S LEGAL AND YET IT STILL HAS
A STIGMA ATTACHED TO IT AND WHAT I’M LEARNING — THE MORE THAT I
SPEND TIME WITH THE CORPORATE FOLKS, THE MORE I’M SORT OF —
I’M SEEING THAT THIS IS A LONG HISTORY AROUND — AROUND THIS
PRODUCT AND THERE’S A LOT TO BE LEARNED AND HARASSED THERE AND
SO I THINK IT’S ABOUT EDUCATION AND LEARNING MORE ABOUT WHAT THE
OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE AND HOW DO YOU KEEP IT — HOW DO YOU
KEEP IT INTEGRITY-FILLED AND ETHICAL — THE LEARNING, THE
BUILDING, ALL OF THAT.

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