Grow, Gift, Repair

Beer, wine and cannabis production are part of new Holyoke Community College curriculum

Cannabis cultivation, beer and cider brewing, and winemaking are among f the new academic programs being offered this fall at Holyoke Community College.

All three were developed as one-year, 24-credit certificate programs through the college’s Sustainability Studies department.

With the fall semester nearing, the college also rolled out two late-start schedules for students looking for more flexible schedules. One will start on September 28 and the other on October 16.

Regular classes begin Tuesday, September 8. All fall semester courses, regardless of starting date, will conclude by December 16.

The new programs are designed to respond to job opportunities in the area, HCC officials said.

“As the cannabis industry has moved into Holyoke and other area towns, a number of the owners of these enterprises are asking for trained employees,” said Kate Maiolatesi, chair of HCC’s Sustainability Studies program.

“Estimates for new cannabis jobs in the region range as high as 1,500.”

One new course, Cannabis Today, provides knowledge of the growing part of the industry. Other requirements for the certificate include classes in agriculture, marketing and entrepreneurship.

Maiolatesi said the college also developed the brewing and winemaking certificates with an eye on expanding industries. Another new course, Fermentation Science, explains the scientific processes of fermentation as it applies to both brewing and winemaking. 

This fall, HCC is also unveiling new certificate and associate degree programs in a range of other academic areas, including behaviorial neuroscience (degree), critical social thought (degree), geoscience (degree), child development (certificate), mental health (certiificate,) and veterinary assistant (certificate). 

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, HCC continues to be innovative in creating new courses and programs that will set students up to either immediately enter the workforce or prepare them for transfer to four-year schools,” said Rachel Rubinstein, HCC vice president of Academic and Student Affairs.

HCC also has two sessions of accelerated, full-credit, late-start classes this fall for students looking for more flexible academic schedules. Late Start I offers 12-week courses beginning Sept. 28.

Late Start II offers 7-week courses beginning Oct. 28.

All classes are being offered this fall in one of three formats: Online, Blended Remote, and Blended Face-to-Face.

Online courses follow a traditional, asynchronous online model with coursework deadlines established by instructors.

Blended Remote courses have both asynchronous online components and scheduled class meetings via video conference platforms such as Zoom.

Blended Face-to-Face combines Blended Remote with some in-person instruction on campus. This format is limited to culinary arts and health science programs that require clinical assessments: nursing, radiologic technology, veterinary technician, and medical assistant.