Restorative justice advocates are hosting a cannabis jobs career fair this month in Chicago, featuring services designed to help job seekers prepare themselves to find work in the regulated marijuana industry. Dubbed the Level Up Career Conference, the event will take place on Juneteenth at Malcolm X College in Chicago’s West Side.
The Level Up Career Conference is hosted by 40 Tons, an African American and woman-owned social impact organization committed to restorative justice and equitable access to career opportunities. Sponsorship for the free event is provided by Good Green, a restorative justice-focused cannabis flower brand owned by Green Thumb Industries, a Chicago-based cannabis company with operations in 15 U.S. markets.
The cannabis job fair is billed as “an innovative employment resource that promotes social justice and brings together employers who encourage equitable hiring practices with diverse job seekers” centered around five principles: employment, expungement, education, empowerment and engagement.
“The path to restorative justice is through employment, education and expungement, and 40 Tons’ mission is to close the gaps within all industries, starting with the cannabis industry,” Loriel Alegrete, the CEO of 40 Tons Brand, said in an emailed statement. “We’re excited to host the Level Up Conference in Chicago on Juneteenth, an important day of liberation for Black people. Our goal is to present a wide range of resources that go beyond a traditional job fair to be a catalyst for attendees to ‘level up’ in their careers.”
After six years of double-digit growth, the number of U.S. cannabis jobs declined by 2% this year. But employment opportunities are still available, particularly in the states that have legalized marijuana most recently, and analysts expect sales volume in the legal cannabis industry to grow to $45 billion by 2027.
Chicago Cannabis Career Fair Features Local Leaders, Justice Organizations
As part of the Level Up Career Conference, 40 Tons is collaborating with civic leaders and local organizations, including the Westside Justice Center, Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition, several law firms and law school students to create an expungement clinic with comprehensive services, including offsite fingerprinting at the Chicago Police Department, securing rap sheets, petition creation and providing legal aid.
“We are proud to partner with 40 Tons to bring the Level Up Career Conference to Chicago,” said Jai Kensey, director of social impact at Green Thumb Industries. “Good Green’s goal is to create opportunity in Black and Brown communities, and this career conference aligns directly with that mission. We look forward to connecting with diverse candidates and supporting their career journey.”
To kick off the cannabis career conference, award-winning CBS2 Chicago News reporter and National Association of Black Journalists president Dorothy Tucker will introduce “Breaking The Glass Ceiling & Creating Your Own Lane,” a keynote presentation from Khadijah Tribble, the founder of cannabis social justice organization Marijuana Matters. U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, a key sponsor of the Second Chance Act of 2007, which is credited for helping more than 100,000 individuals escape the cycle of recidivism following incarceration, will address the conference at the “State of Expungement in Illinois” session.
The Level Up Career Conference also includes a business expo featuring companies committed to diversity and inclusion, specifically targeting diverse communities. The event is designed to bring all aspects of career development into one location as a “one-stop shop” for attendees, providing a variety of services to job seekers, employers, cannabis brands and consumers. Services offered include complimentary resume development, LinkedIn profile optimization, grooming services and professional headshots.
The career fair will also host a series of educational sessions focused on professional development and personal growth including topics such as Grow With Google, How to Beat the ATS System to Get Your Resume Seen by HR Recruiters, Pivot Smarter Into the Industry (Transferable Skills), Is DEI a Buzzword?, Life After A Cannabis Conviction, Building a Social Impact Brand and Responsible Dispensary Agent Training, among others.
The 40 Tons Level Up Career Conference & Business Expo will be held in Chicago on Monday, June 19, Juneteenth, at the Malcolm X College Conference Center located at 1900 W. Jackson Boulevard, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. More information and registration are available online.