LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the need for skilled cannabis workers continues to climb sky-high in the valley, a community college is helping students go from the classroom to employment.

The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) has introduced online cannabis industry courses this year. The eight-week-long certification classes focus on manufacturing, retail, and cultivation.

There are areas of the industry that’s helped it grow in the state to nearly $1 billion, according to a 2022 Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board report. Additionally, there are courses Stavan Corbett, CSN executive director of the division of workforce and economic development, said could give locals a foot in the industry door.

“Everybody wants a professional that knows how to handle a product,” Corbett said inside the CSN Sahara West Center Wednesday morning. “If we’re going to continue to diversify our economy, we need talent that’s going to help.”

The courses are provided through the college but taught by Green Flower, a proclaimed leader in cannabis education.

CEO Max Simon says “industry operators” film courses in their studios that over 30 schools nationwide use for certification, including at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“People love the cannabis industry and it’s actually very competitive,” Simon said during a virtual interview Wednesday morning. “The hiring managers and the people that are building these companies really need people who have some existing background or skillset because there’s too much to learn and understand from scratch.”

These come as cannabis continues to consume the valley, both on and off the strip. While dispensaries have become commonplace, consumption lounges and hotels are expected to hit Las Vegas this year.

“I believe that Nevada will lead the nation in this area, around cannabis consumption lounges, and every one of those people will need to be thoroughly trained in order to participate in that sector,” Simon said. “If you’re looking for a way to break in or distinguish yourself, you need training or a certification like this in order to stand out.”

At course completion, Simon says graduates are connected to Green Flower’s employer network, which contains “companies that are hiring people with these qualifications” across the nation. Corbett calls this a path to employment

“There are people that live here, raise their families here, and this is another career path for them to contribute, not only to our economy as a region but also to be able to be in a career space where they’re able to provide for themselves, their family and have economic mobility,” Corbett said.

Each course is open enrollment, meaning anyone can apply and begin when they want to, says Corbett. It will cost prospective students $750.

More information on the courses and how to register for them can be found on the CSN website.