CDEOC Awarded $75,000 Grant from USC Race & Equity Center; Partners with Office of Cannabis Management on New Program for Fall 2023

June 15, 2023

The Capital District Educational Opportunity Center (CDEOC), a division of Hudson Valley Community College, is one of 15 institutions nationwide selected out of more than 150 applicants, to receive a grant from the USC Race and Equity Center. The Takeoff: Institutional Innovations for College Men of Color grant was awarded in the amount of $75,000 and recognizes and supports organizations that are exemplars in finding innovative ways to improve racial equity for men of color.

The CDEOC’s grant application was characterized as compelling, exemplifying a rigorous use of evidence and a thoughtfully presented system-focused innovation. The grant application described how over many decades, multiple sources of data point to the disproportionate rate in which the aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws negatively impacted people of color, the vast majority of which are men. It also noted how in New York State, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has been working to engage with these previously-targeted individuals to become the primary stakeholders and beneficiaries of a legitimate cannabis industry by spearheading the rebuilding of their communities ravaged by the war on drugs.

To this end, the CDEOC has partnered with the OCM to bring awareness to a Cannabis Construction certificate training program that will be offered beginning in the Fall of 2023. Cannabis Construction allows an enrolled student to learn elements of the building trades that are required to construct indoor and outdoor grow houses. At the completion of the course, enrolled students will have learned facets of carpentry and framing for the structure; electrical wiring, outlet, and panel installation; heating and ventilation duct work and thermostat installation; and plumbing installation utilizing PVC and/or Pex tubing to feed the plants.

Enrolled students will have the skills and the knowledge required to build grow houses and receive a CDEOC certificate of completion at the end of the program. They will also have earned three credits at Hudson Valley Community College for transfer into a related degree program of their choosing, including construction technology, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, architecture, or engineering.

The impact this program will have on the communities that have been negatively targeted by the sale of marijuana will be far reaching. Students who complete the program will now have a way to sustain themselves by selling their grow houses to local farmers and crop owners. These students will gain real-world experience as entrepreneurs and will also be supported by the CDEOC’s partnership with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Albany.

To learn more about the EOC's education programs, services, and general eligibility requirements, visit

Media Contact

Meghan Tice
Capital District Educational Opportunity Center (EOC)