Will We Extract Every Job and Opportunity from America’s Fastest Growing New Industry?

Jun 20, 2017 | News

Archie Williamson.
Diversified Systems, Inc.

Ohio’s emerging medical marijuana industry will, over time, create thousands of jobs through licensee businesses and start-up companies.

The state will soon be producing jobs with titles that didn’t exist here even a year ago — jobs with titles like: cannabis cultivator, processor, dispensary sales manager, patient education director, plant material trimmer… etc, etc.

Beyond these intriguing new jobs and job categories, medical marijuana- related enterprises – in business services, consulting, information technology, packaging – become exciting important new or business add-on options for Ohio entrepreneurs.

The jobs and business opportunity growth curve will be sharp in this new Ohio industry.

The key questions economic and workforce development professionals should be asking is:  Will Ohio make the mistake of other cannabis-legal states by failing to plan for what will be an industry that literally emerges almost overnight?  Or, will we take the lead in crafting economic and workforce development policies and programs that help Ohioans – especially minorities, women and veterans — extract every job and opportunity from this important emerging industry?

As a member of various Central Ohio workforce boards and founding partner of an Ohio Minority Business Enterprise that provides information technology solutions to corporations and government agencies, I’ve spent years working with businesses and industries, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to align workforce and economic development agendas with employer and employee needs.

In my discussions with these partners, I’ve found there’s real interest in a statewide job and entrepreneurship program that helps the medical marijuana industry consistently recruit and train Ohioans – particularly those Ohioans who often find themselves “outside the hiring circle” — while also serving as an incubator for new cannabis-related businesses.

To meet these needs, I propose a cannabis industry/State of Ohio collaborative organization that would:

  • Develop voluntary Ohio industry-wide job classifications and credentialing standards for cannabis cultivators, dispensaries and processors.
  • Serve as a statewide, regional and onsite training provider for the Ohio medical marijuana industry by offering industry standard learning modules for cultivators, dispensary operators and processors.
  • Create consistent, well-vetted job recruitment and training tools to enable Ohio cannabis licensee businesses to more effectively find, train and retain good local employees on their own.
  • Assist cannabis licensee businesses in recruiting, training and credentialing minority, veteran and female applicants to meet their specific hiring needs.
  • And, work with entrepreneurs to help them understand the needs of Ohio licensees so they can develop technology, business solutions, and other products and services to best serve the market.

With the right approach, this cannabis industry/State of Ohio effort could become a national best practice for assuring Ohioans get their fair share of the jobs and opportunities made possible by the fastest growing new industry in America.

A Stronger Workforce through Understanding Mental Health and Addiction

About three months ago, we launched our Recovery Within Reach campaign, a first-of-its-kind effort to educate Ohioans about the financial effects of opioid addiction — and to connect them with treatment options close to their homes.

Our goal is to create a new way of talking about addiction, one in which people consider the facts and practical realities of how substance use disorder affects their lives. Not long ago, Gov. Mike DeWine challenged all of us in state government to think of ways we could help Ohioans navigate the opioid crisis that has affected our state for so long. For us, that meant considering the financial effects of addiction — and providing tools and trainings to help Ohioans and financial advisers talk about addiction and access care.

read more

Newark Development Partners continues to make strides in Downtown Newark

Newark Development Partners (NDP), the community improvement corporation for the City of Newark, continues to further development in the Downtown through various projects. The sale of the Hudson Avenue Church with surrounding property, the renewal of the Downtown Special Improvement District and the commencement of construction at the Historic Arcade are all recent successes for the City of Newark.

read more