Hospitality Pathways trains workers for new careers in New York cannabis.
At the Green Market Report New York Cannabis Business Summit in New York City on Sept. 13, we recognized some of the stellar industry players with the GMR New York Cannabis Awards.
The winner of Best Ancillary Provider (Nonprofit) was Hospitality Pathways, which trains workers for new careers in New York cannabis.
Hospitality Pathways founder Beatrice Stein fell into the marijuana industry almost by accident. A self-described lifelong member of the hospitality business, she found herself looking for a new project when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, and she eventually figured out that her skills from the restaurant world could be put to use by training budtenders.
Stein launched Hospitality Pathways in November 2022, after months of research into the marijuana trade. She’d already formed a nonprofit that was helping workers break into the hospitality world with workforce training programs and was able to pivot that to cannabis.
“I was looking for other ways to use that nonprofit, to help communities, and I realized cannabis was coming to New York … and I realized that the same skill set you need to be successful working in a restaurant is the same skill set you need to be working in cannabis retail or cannabis lounges,” Stein said.
Stein said she’s incredibly proud of many of her students that have completed training courses and found work at licensed dispensaries all over New York City.
“All of our graduates who are currently working at licensed dispensaries are the top budtenders – and the most requested budtenders. And they’re doing really well, and I think that’s a huge achievement for the program and for them,” Stein said.
While Stein doesn’t have to worry about many of the traditional financial hurdles of marijuana businesses, such as 280E or predatory investors, she still said money is her biggest issue because as a nonprofit she has to rely on donors.
“People are happy to give money for the students, but not for the programming. I’m like, there is no program without the person who created it and is training (students),” Stein said.
But she’s very much looking forward to the New York market expanding, which will almost certainly drive up demand for the type of services she provides.
“I’m looking forward to this injunction getting settled, and Oct. 4 the licenses opening, and a lot more openings of dispensaries,” Stein said. “I’m looking forward to just a big, huge market.”
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