New pot industry luring college-grad job seekers – Allentown Morning Call
Growing up in a Colonial home in Downingtown, Chester County, Alessandro Cesario cultivated an interest in the family garden, trying to become “in tune” with plants and insects, and by the time he was 16, he knew he wanted to work with plants in his career. Specifically, one plant — cannabis.
So he spent four years at Delaware Valley University, taking courses in hydroponics and working in greenhouses and on farms. His ambition was no pipe dream: After he graduated in 2013, Cesario made the jump from vegetables to cannabis — moving to Las Vegas to become director of cultivation for Desert Grown Farms.
“It’s not like you’re walking into a cubicle, that’s for sure,” said Cesario, 26, who said he works 80 to 90 hours a week managing plants in a 58,000 square-foot warehouse. “Everyone’s super stoked to be here and just to be around the plants.”
Delaware Valley University, in Doylestown Township, one of the top providers of agriculture degrees in the state, offers students a chance to study hydroponics — a system for growing produce without soil, and a technique used in the cannabis industry. By working with plants such as basil, students can gain specialized skills that can be applied to jobs in the medical marijuana industry.
As applicants young and old flood the marijuana job market in states across the country — and Pennsylvania is now getting its turn — millennials like Cesario are among the first generation of college graduates who can job-hunt in the legal marijuana industry.
“We’re getting deluged with resumes,” said John Pohlhaus, CEO of Franklin Labs, a grower-processor in Reading.
Pennsylvania is one of 29 states that has legalized medical marijuana. Eight have approved recreational marijuana, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced a bill last week to legalize medical