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Economy

Cannabis Operator in Southern Illinois Looks to Create More Local Jobs

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Aeriz
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An example of the Aeriz operation

A cannabis cultivation company that operates a production facility in Union County is working with an area community college to create new jobs.
Aeriz currently employs around 70 people at its facility in Anna. But, company spokesperson Ryan Thomas says they've donated $70,000 to Shawnee Community College to establish a cannabis industry workforce training program that could create up to 300 more jobs.

"Most of those are going to come from the new facility we're constructing right now. So, this facility is next door to our current space. It's quite a bit bigger than our current grow facility. As a result of that, we're going to have a lot of positions opening up."

Thomas says Aeriz wants to hire as many local workers as possible. Certifications through SCC include cannabis fundamentals, trimming and potentially extraction.

The new larger facility is partially in operation now with full operations possible by the end of the summer.

Aeriz is joining forces with Pachama to offset carbon emissions from Aeriz production sites in Anna and other locations around the country.

Pachama serves as sort of a watchdog to make sure businesses are following through with their carbon reducing projects.

Aeriz spokesperson Ryan Thomas says it can be difficult to calculate the company's total carbon footprint.

"The main calculations we used for our total carbon footprint were our electrical bills. Obviously, that's going to be the biggest thing for us in terms of the heating and cooling and lighting. We also included employee travel and office expenses."

Thomas says his company will offset 3,000 tons of carbon per year. That's in line with a company like BMG Music, which says it offset the more 3,000 tons produced by its activities in 2019, including offsetting its emissions by investing in climate protection projects in Brazil.

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