US (IL): Expanding career opportunities for underrepresented communities

On Thursday, April 7, 2022 the first event kicked off, in a partnership between NCIA and Green Enterprise’s HBCU College to Career Initiative to bring career empowerment to HBCU students and alumni (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) starting at Chicago State University.  

This significant initiative expands opportunities for underrepresented Black and Brown people in the cannabis industry. In a series of on-campus events at HBCUs around the country, the College to Career Initiative will assemble prominent Black entrepreneurs, state officials, and thought leaders to discuss solutions to create a point of entry in the growing cannabis industry, as well as substantial pathways to success. 

Creating a pipeline to generational wealth
“The goal here is to create a direct pipeline of opportunity from black and brown students and alumni to our member companies and resources,” says NCIA DEI Manager, Mike Lomuto. By now most of us are aware of the vast underrepresentation of Black and Brown communities in the upper levels of the cannabis industry. This initiative is a way to build a foundation, starting at the ground level with students coming out of educational institutions gaining direct access to opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach by bringing these prominent Black entrepreneurs and cannabis leaders in person to meet with these students. 

When Mike and Andrew Farrior, co-founder of Green Enterprise Magazine, began conversations in the Fall, they aligned on the deep commitment to expanding real opportunities for folks to have access to building generational wealth. Green Enterprise, operated and produced by Digital Venture Partners and Black Enterprise, then announced the Green Enterprise College to Career Initiative. This series of on-campus events will tour HBCUs across the country in 2022, creating a point of entry in the growing cannabis industry, as well as substantial pathways to success. The timing of this couldn’t be more relevant, as many of the HBCUs are in the Northeast and Southeastern states that are coming online with cannabis programs, and as the tour gets established we will be there right on the ground providing access to the industry. 

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