Upskill Vermont Program Sheds Light on a Career in Cannabis

Ryley Senecal wanted to explore new options for a career. When he came across a news story in July 2021 about the UVM Professional and Continuing Education’s Upskill Vermont Scholarship program, he immediately signed up for two professional certificates.

The Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program offered Vermonters two free courses resulting in college credit or non-credit professional development certificates plus workshops, personal advising, and resources to gain the skills, confidence, and support needed to achieve their career goals. 

Senecal, of Manchester, enrolled in UVM’s Cannabis Plant Biology online certificate course to enhance his resume and learn new skills. 

“I’ve been especially interested in cannabis ever since Vermont instituted a legal market for it, and I thought going into this industry be an interesting career choice,” he says. “With the course, it’s been helpful to fill in some knowledge gaps to get a better all-around knowledge of the plant, the process, and the regulations.”

Upskilling to Make a Career Change

Legal cannabis sales are expected to reach more than $100 billion annually by 2030, a more than 400 percent increase compared to 2020 sales.  Students in the Cannabis Plant Biology course learn:

  • Cannabis Chemicals
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural Best Practices
  • Post-Harvest Handling
  • Processing

Senecal works at his parents’ glass installation company and runs a small bakery out of his southern Vermont home. Eventually, he would be interested in working at a hemp farm or at a medical marijuana dispensary. 

“The thought of getting new things on my resume drew me to the UVM Upskill program. College wasn’t an option for me, and this helped find me a way to bolster my resume.”

Ryley Senecal, Recent Upskill Vermont Scholarship Student

The Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program helps Vermonters take their credentials and qualifications to the next level. Whether it’s striving for new responsibilities in a current job, switching industries altogether, or launching a side business, Vermonters can get the training, education, and career guidance they need to get ahead.

Senecal highly recommends the online 8-week online Cannabis Plant Biology certificate course.

“It’s a good course for anyone interested in getting into the industry or even if you want to know more about cannabis,” he says. “There’s the legality of it, how it works with the human brain, and how it affects the body. This course helps demystify all that.”


Learn more about The Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program and Cannabis Professional Certificate Programs.

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