Leave it to the ladies to get the job done. While there has been a lot of discussion about social equity and hang wringing over the best ways to create opportunity, the non-profit organization Supernova has just rolled up its sleeves and gotten busy. Supernova Women will be one of the first organizations to recruit, train and facilitate the employment of
workers from the nation’s first Cannabis Workforce Development Grant Program launched in the City of Oakland this past November.
The $1 Million initiative — the first of its kind — stems from a statewide California program that earmarked $20 Million specifically to support Equity programs, in a spirit of leveling the playing field to allow for equal representation of Black and Brown communities who were the most affected by the War on Drugs. The group said in a statement that 10 workers will be trained along two tracks: METRC management and cannabis manufacturing operations.
Whitney Beatty, Vice President of Supernova Women and a cannabis entrepreneur said, “The legal cannabis space is on a path to be more representative of the Black and Brown individuals who have been cultivating and producing cannabis medicine for decades. The legacy workers in weed deserve a fair shot to engage in this newly regulated industry.”
The state funding from the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) provides remuneration of $20 per hour for training and on-the-job experience. The newly minted professionals will then be paired with an Equity cannabis business based on organizational needs, fit, and skill. Historically, workforce development programs focus on people (instead of businesses), consider barriers of entry for the region, and are created with the intention of matching workers’ skills to the needs in an industry.
The idea is that as skill levels increase, communities can better compete with upwardly-mobile jobs. Given that there were 1,181 felony marijuana arrests in California in 2019, where 41.7% were Hispanic and 22.3% were Black, the quest for equitable engagement in legal cannabis is still ongoing.
Beatty added, “We have been in talks with the City of Oakland for several years about this program. It aims to address skill gaps and ensure seamless skills acquisition for meaningful and
sustainable engagement in the legal cannabis industry by those who are most negatively affected by the War on Drugs. This is a big win.”
Other businesses cited as a resource for this program include:
The Hood Incubator
The Hood Incubator builds a movement to leverage the legal cannabis industry as a model for healing and equity. We empower Black community members to thrive as workers, owners, and investors in the growing legal cannabis economy. Our workforce development offerings consist of recruitment, staffing, and training. We specialize in supporting businesses in their training needs for compliance and manufacturing although we can help build customized training programs for all cannabis permits.
Point of Contact: Lanese Martin, Co-Executive Director
West Oakland Job Resource Center
The West Oakland Job Resource Center provides a unique set of services that includes an assessment; employer referral, local hire monitor/compliance, pre-and post-employment
services, and is a model that complements the existing network of services and training programs in Oakland.
Point of contact: Joyce Guy – Director