State of Illinois announces that Olive-Harvey College and Wright College are inaugural recipients of a Cannabis Community College Vocational Pilot Program license


In July, the State of Illinois announced seven inaugural recipients of a Cannabis Community College Vocational Pilot program license that includes a license for Olive-Harvey College and Wilbur Wright College, two of the City Colleges of Chicago. The license will allow the colleges to teach and grow up to 50 cannabis plants for experiential hands-on learning in a new and rapidly growing industry.

On July 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation, HB1433, creating seven inaugural recipients of a Cannabis Community College Vocational Pilot Program license for the following colleges: Kishwaukee College, Oakton College, Olive-Harvey College, Shawnee Community College, Southwestern Illinois College, Triton College, and Wilbur Wright College.

“With this new program license we are excited to be able to empower more people of color in our community to become part of the legalized cannabis industry,” said Kimberly Hollingsworth, President of Olive-Harvey College. “This license also is a big step toward equity and we commend our leaders for doing what is right.”

“Wright College is thrilled to be partnering with Olive Harvey College to provide programming and pathways to careers in the thriving cannabis industry. We are especially grateful to make these opportunities available to those who otherwise might not see the possibilities and potential. It is another important way that City Colleges of Chicago is helping students advance,” said David Potash, President of Wright College.

“As a current graduate Hemp researcher at Chicago State University, my work with Olive-Harvey College’s Cannabis Advisory Council and our research collaboration, has shown me firsthand that regardless of a student’s socioeconomic background when a college invests in its community, students and local businesses, they create a cycle of new jobs, new opportunities, and community growth and development. The fact that students will get hands-on experience and access to industry best practices in addition to comprehensive training, at City Colleges, will set them up for success.” said Steven C. Philpott Jr.

The pilot license serves as an additional distinction of merit to support the quality of Olive-Harvey’s urban agriculture programs that includes cannabis education and workforce development. The curriculum includes processing and testing lab analytics of cannabis to ensure students have a competitive cannabis and agriculture-based education upon completion. The students will receive a basic certificate from City Colleges and a “Career in Cannabis” certificate from the State of Illinois.

Olive-Harvey College’s goal is to serve as Chicago’s leading partner for cannabis and urban agriculture education, and continue to be a gateway to careers in the cannabis sector.

Fall classes are now available and include our Dispensary Operations basic certificate, Cannabis Processing certification and additional continuing education classes. Register here today!

To learn more about Olive-Harvey’s agriculture curriculum and all its educational pathways, click here.

City Colleges of Chicago vision is to be recognized as the city’s most accessible higher education engine of socioeconomic mobility and racial equity – empowering all Chicagoans to take part in building a stronger and more just city. For information and to register for college, visit or call 773-COLLEGE.