Governor Hochul Announces $5 Million in Funding to Support the Launch of New and Existing Cannabis Accreditation Programs

July 18, 2022

From the office of Governor Hochul

SUNY and CUNY Community Colleges to Help New Yorkers Train for and Secure Careers in the Cannabis Industry  

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that SUNY and CUNY community colleges will receive $5 million in funding to support the creation or enhancement of short-term credential programs or course offerings that provide pathways to employment in the cannabis industry. The funding supports programs that will create or enhance non-degree and degree-eligible courses and programs, stackable credentials, and/or microcredentials that quickly address local employer skill needs within the cannabis sector, a projected multi-billion dollar industry with tens of thousands jobs. Selected campuses must also partner with local employers in the cannabis industry and receive their input on curriculum development.  

"New York's new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have the quality training they need to be successful," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Diversity and inclusion are what makes New York's workforce a competitive, powerful asset, and we will continue to take concrete steps to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry."  

"As we work to get our cannabis industry up and running in New York State, we must ensure that we have a properly trained workforce and a pathway for employment opportunities," said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. "This funding will ensure that SUNY and CUNY can create new or enhance existing programs that target employment within the cannabis industry."

This cannabis credentialing program aligns with Governor Hochul's continued commitment to delivering new employment opportunities to New Yorkers, especially those from historically underserved communities, while also supplying local employers with a highly skilled, locally sourced talent pool. Colleges will serve social equity candidates as defined by the Office of Cannabis Management in their local communities.  

Awards have been made on a competitive basis within the SUNY and CUNY systems, with multiple campuses partnering with one college which assumes the lead role.  

The three selected SUNY campuses which will each receive $1 Million are:  

  • Schenectady County Community College:serve as lead campus with partners Adirondack Community College, Columbia-Greene Community College, and Fulton-Montgomery Community College. It is estimated to include over 300 participants.  
  • Niagara County Community College:serve as lead campus with partners Erie Community College, Genesee Community College, and Jamestown Community College. It is estimated to include over 4,000 participants.  
  • Orange County Community College:serve as lead campus with partners Dutchess Community College, Rockland Community College, Sullivan County Community College, Ulster County Community College, and Westchester Community College. It is estimated to include over 200 participants.  

The selected CUNY campus which will receive $2 Million is:  

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College:serve as lead campus with partner Lehman College. It is estimated to include over 360 participants.  

Additionally, the New York State Department of Labor and the Office of Cannabis Management will support efforts to expand learning opportunities by helping to connect businesses and job seekers to these essential training programs. Upon completion, the Department will help candidates complete resumes, prepare for job interviews and provide regional job leads. 

Each awarded campus or consortium of campuses will be supported by start-up funds for a three-year period.  

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "By investing in quality accreditation programs on SUNY and CUNY campuses, we are empowering New Yorkers to achieve their career goals. This is a win for cannabis employers and a win for workers looking to move into in-demand careers with untapped potential in New York State." 

Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said, "I am thankful to Governor Hochul and our partners at SUNY and CUNY community colleges for developing programs that will help develop a diverse, equitable and accessible New York cannabis industry," said Tremaine Wright. "As our cannabis industry grows, so does our need for skilled workers, and this is a wonderful way to create opportunities for New Yorkers."

SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said, "SUNY educates and trains students not just to prepare them for the workforce of today, but to make them leaders in the workforce of tomorrow. This cannabis credentialing program is an exciting new field of study for those seeking a competitive edge when applying for careers in dispensaries, grow labs, or CBD and THC sales. We thank Governor Hochul for her continued investments in our students and the future of the New York State economy."  

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "CUNY is proud to be at the forefront of creating innovative courses and degree programs that position our students to leverage the opportunities that the nascent cannabis industry presents. We thank Governor Hochul for continuing to open new opportunities for CUNY students to pursue careers in cutting-edge fields, and for ensuring the diversity and equity of New York's workforce."  

Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander said, "Legal cannabis in New York means cannabis opportunities for New Yorkers. It's wonderful to see community colleges across the SUNY and CUNY systems help their students develop the skills necessary to be players in this burgeoning industry. This is an excellent step towards helping New York's cannabis industry grow." 

Governor Hochul is expanding access to higher education while also increasing opportunities for employment. Innovative approaches like allowing the Tuition Assistance Program to cover students enrolled in six or more credits of study at a SUNY, CUNY, or not-for-profit independent college - an investment estimated to provide support to 75,000 additional New York students annually.  Allowing these funds to also be used for credential and certificate programs.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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