Partnership to enhance educational opportunities for diverse students

Midtown Manhattan's LIM College has helped thousands of students achieve their dream careers in the business of fashion for more than 80 years. This fall, LIM expanded beyond fashion into lifestyle degree offerings, readying students to enter the burgeoning legal cannabis industry.

LIM College is the nation's first to offer Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Professional Studies degrees in The Business of Cannabis. According to Leafly, America's total annual legal cannabis revenue is expected to reach $45 billion by 2025.

With the goal of opening more educational opportunities for diverse students to pursue cannabis degrees, or any degree program LIM offers, the College has established partnership agreements with South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBro) and Local 338 Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)/United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents cannabis workers, among others.

The educational incentives offered under these partnerships include waived application fees, tuition discounts of $100 per credit, and scholarships of up to $13,000 to eligible members of each organization as well as their employees, dependents, and retirees.

"Leadership in cannabis requires collaboration across a broad spectrum of community stakeholders. LIM is excited to partner with industry, government, labor unions, and other mission-driven organizations that understand the importance of education in creating an equitable industry," said Michael Zaytsev, academic director of cannabis degree programs at LIM.

"We are attracting both traditional and non-traditional students, including several who were not planning to go to college at all until they discovered the opportunity to study the business of cannabis at LIM College," Zaytsev noted.

According to Zaytsev, "We have a diverse group of students, including those who have just graduated from high school to those with advanced degrees in other fields. They are coming to LIM for the opportunity to be at the forefront of a unique industry that is not only experiencing rapid growth but also represents a vehicle for making a significant impact in matters of public health, social justice, environmental stewardship, and more."

SoBro's Gustavo McClain, who is the organization's director of workforce training, and is also a student in LIM's Business of Cannabis master's degree program, said that education is everything, especially in a completely new industry.

"At SoBro, we have monitored activities surrounding the legalization of cannabis in New York and elsewhere and believe that now is the time to act," he said. "The partnership with LIM is one of the first steps we are taking because being able to offer incentives to become educated in this new business is critical to bringing people into the industry in the right way, giving them access to resources, education, jobs, and job growth over time. The social equity aspect is important to us, as the South Bronx has historically had some of the highest crime, poverty, and homelessness rates, and our organization is working to reverse these trends. LIM can be a major piece of that," he said.

McClain added that as a LIM student, he is experiencing first-hand what those from the SoBro community could have the opportunity to do through the partnership. "In my personal experience as a LIM cannabis student, I am seeing how well-rounded and accessible the education is there. LIM gives me access to industry experts as well as a depth of information and academic support that I cannot get elsewhere. Offering enhanced access to this same experience in the SoBro community is something we believe in doing." 

Nikki Kateman, political and communications director for Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, said the educational partnership with LIM is part of the union's commitment to making all types of tools available and removing barriers to higher education and "high road" employment for its members, meaning jobs with family-sustaining wages, benefits, and career pathways.

"We approach supporting workers in a holistic manner, not just on the job, but also within their broader lives and communities, including educational opportunities in a skilled business such as cannabis, which will offer many opportunities to move up the ladder quickly as happens in new industries," she said. "We want to make higher education accessible to our members and their families and believe the partnership with LIM is a natural one as the College has a commitment to educational advocacy in the business of cannabis and brings unique degree programs, expert faculty, and an inclusive sensibility. LIM College is a trusted partner that shares our goals," Kateman added.

"There are a growing number of serious careers in the rapidly expanding cannabis industry for those with the right business knowledge and skills," said Michael P. Londrigan, acting provost at LIM. "These careers are in sales and marketing, branding and social media, retail management, product development, manufacturing and operations management, compliance, supply chain and logistics, and more."

Continued Londrigan, "This new industry will need graduates who can hit the ground running with in-depth knowledge of the unique nature of the cannabis business. LIM is leading the way in readying students who will have specific knowledge, real-world experiences, and degrees in hand, putting them head and shoulders above others entering the industry."

For more information:
LIM College

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