An Evolving Coachella Valley Economy
The Coachella Valley recovery from the financial meltdown of several years ago had seemed to be evolving through the last few years. As a destination resort area, visitors to the area continued to increase and new hotels and industrial hubs had been sprouting up across the Coachella Valley.
Today, with over 60,000 people employed in the Hospitality industry according to the Greater Palm Springs Conventions & Visitors Bureau there is a concern that the COVID-19 corona virus will see hundreds laid off or furloughed until the threat diminishes. The new normal, at least temporarily, may not be like what we are seeing in Northern Italy. One bright spot though is legal cannabis consumption and the business of weed is thrives in the desert. People who use cannabis are able to in the privacy of their own homes and they don’t even need to leave their nest to get their favorite strain or product.
While no governmental agency logs official weed jobs, we estimate that there are approximately over 5,000 people currently working in some fashion or another in the cannabis industry. Just so you know, cities where pot is fully legal online have systems that track active LiveScans (a requirement to be employed in the industry). For example, the city of Desert Hot Springs may have 2,100 active LiveScans in their system, yet they may be working within the city of Palm Springs or Cathedral City.
Nonetheless, given the strength of the industries that support cannabis companies, David and Karen Rosen have brought their staffing expertise from Los Angeles to the Desert to bridge finding talent for employers in the key industries that help drive the California economy with Grassroots Staffing Group.
Innovators, Trendsetters & Craftspeople
In many of the nearly 40 states where cannabis is legal in some form, innovators are generating so much agricultural and industrial output, that opportunities exist for people who want to be innovating, trendsetting or working a craft that most of us get to see only a tip of the iceberg in social media. If you subscribe to at least 5 trade magazines or like us, about 50 email alerts we get daily, you would see who is doing what around the country.
Despite the recent stock meltdowns of some of the biggest corporate cannabis players in the legal market, the California cannabis industry is expected to add at least 20,000 new jobs in the next year. Okay, but do you really see yourself working in a dispensary? That’s likely not where more than 50% of the jobs are going to be. As we get into our second year of legalization, many of the jobs are in professional and technical workers. And that’s besides the usual jobs such as accountants, lab workers, marketers and tax experts.
Jobs, Jobs and Different Jobs
“Jobs in the Coachella Valley are extremely diverse with a variety of different positions coming across my desk every day,” state Amber Pozo, Branch Manager for Grassroots Staffing Group.
In the jobs and careers people are getting into, it bears noting that while many may not be “stoners”, they share a dedication and ever-growing knowledge of what cannabis and hemp have to offer millions of people.
In the Palm Springs area, different light industrial hubs where product developers are innovating in the cultivation, curing, packaging and distributing products derived from cannabis and hemp are springing up from the desert floor. That means jobs in construction, engineering, electrical, building maintenance, agriculture, botany, plant biology and more are becoming available. As a friend says, we have from “root to toot”, tongue in cheek of course, where people have choices if they have the skills that can be used in a myriad of jobs.
Jocelyn Kane, Vice President of the Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network (CVCAN) states that “our trade group that serves the Coachella Valley legal cannabis industry has over 150 members who represent not only the supply chain from seed to sale, but also the robust affiliated businesses that service that supply chain. These are folks in service businesses like legal, insurance, human resources, and also folks who sell soil, odor control products, machinery, and the list goes on and on.”
The social media landscape provides glimpses of cannabis-industry life where we get to see beautiful images of flowers with droplets of nectar and interesting aromas. On the agricultural side, there are outdoor and indoor grow facilities with highly skilled and degreed farmers just like in other agricultural industries. They care for their plants just like a tomato grower cares for acres of tomatoes that ultimately become part of your salad, sauce or toppings on your tacos. Then you have the people who trim the plants, talk to the plants, and care for the plants just like we do with our pets. These highly skilled craftspeople trim like they were working on bonsai trees or rose bushes. The way they handle the stalk to be hung and cured before it is processed for packaging in various forms takes innovation, teamwork, discipline and skills.
The Grassroots team told us that “Grassroots serves all different businesses throughout the Coachella Valley and Southern California… Our majority of clients are within hospitality, cannabis and golf courses.”
As commodities, cannabis and hemp are the fastest growing agricultural segments and driving job growth for people who have worked in other agricultural products like flowers, vegetables, fruit, and grains as examples.
Will there be more opportunities?
Many of the companies are vertically integrated where they do all the growing, curing, processing and packaging for themselves and for multi-state brands. The trendsetters have gradually grown a network of “white label” producers, much like there are contract distillers in the tequila industry that produce to specific requirements so that the brands will have consistent product in the states they operate in.
“CVCAN sees the industry as full of opportunities, even in the face of some setbacks such as over taxation and over regulation. We can do this with a long view and a positive outlook” according to Ms Kane.
For more information about career opportunities, contact Grassroots Staffing Group here.