NCIA Partners with Green Enterprise’s HBCU College to Career Initiative
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NCIA Partners with Green Enterprise’s HBCU College to Career Initiative


This week on Thursday, April 7, 2022 kicks off the first event 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. 

Join us on April 7, 2022 at Chicago State University for a dynamic day where you can get up close and personal with prominent Black advocates and entrepreneurs for career advancement in the industry! 

You can expect to network throughout the day and join intimate conversations in the afternoon with experts on how to use YOUR unique skills to break into the industry. NCIA leaders will be speaking, as well as hosting “office hours” with students and alumni interested in discussing the best pathways to break into the industry. This event is a continuation of NCIA’s Equity Workshop Series, the live, in-person component of our equity scholarship and mentorship program. 

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. 

The Unique Opportunity for NCIA Members 

NCIA will provide adapted versions of our Equity Workshop Tour at these HBCU events. The in-person component of our equity scholarship and mentorship program allows us to engage with social equity applicants and operators, as well as the community at large on the ground, in different regions in the country with the goal of addressing specific needs of the community while connecting them to resources. “So this is why it was such a good fit for us to make this partnership. We hope to connect with Black leaders in the industry who may be interested in joining NCIA and strengthening our mission together,” says Mike. 

NCIA is composed of thousands of cannabis industry companies that are searching for interns, employees, and partners. NCIA has the unique ability to represent small businesses in all different sectors all over the country. There are many opportunities throughout the NCIA network for people to enter and advance in the industry from a variety of entry points. Being involved in this historic initiative allows us to bring people to the table that may not have otherwise had the ability to partner with Andrew and Green Enterprise’s initiatives. When Andrew brought this opportunity to Mike, and Mike subsequently brought it to NCIA’s member base, the response was immediate and exciting. “People are ready to just give and do whatever they can to help with this initiative, and bring the cannabis industry to these campuses in whatever way Andrew thought we should do.” 

The HBCU College to Career Initiative Tour Dates 

These historic events at HBCUs will be taking place throughout the remainder of 2022, and underline a variety of conversations and lectures covering a wide range of topics, from entrepreneurship to cannabis marketing, to building an inclusive industry that began at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA in February and will continue on to Chicago State University this April 7th, presented by Cresco Labs. The CSU event will be held in conjunction with the predominantly black two-year college, Olive-Harvey. The tour will then make additional stops at Florida A&M University on April 20th, and Medgar-Evers College on April 30th, both being powered by Massachusetts-based operator, Curaleaf.

Cresco Labs, the presenting sponsor for Chicago State University and Olive-Harvey College, will promote significant conversations and initiatives and hand out materials to initiate in-earnest partnerships between cannabis operators and HBCUs and develop a direct, effective talent pipeline into the industry.

Spotlighted topics such as social impact and entrepreneurship, as well as, economics and investing, will be covered. The full schedule is available at GreenEnterpriseHBCU.live:

Chicago State University & Olive-Harvey College – Chicago, IL
Thursday, April 7, 2022

Florida A&M University – Tallahassee, FL
Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Medgar-Evers College – New York, NY
Saturday, April 30, 2022

For more information on attending the upcoming events, please visit https://www.greenenterpriseHBCU.live/.

Get Involved! 

Sponsorship and partnership opportunities are available for this specific initiative and NCIA’s programs. Also for our members interested in becoming involved, please reach out to Mike Lomuto, DEI Manager.

We’re excited to get our members engaged with this initiative to create solid pipelines at this historic point in the industry. 

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