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For Immediate Release  

CONTACT: Don Reisinger
OFFICE: 518-631-9816
CELL: 518-698-7847

July 23, 2015


Medical Cannabis Certificate Program to equip students with essential scientific and technology skills

New York, NY – Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an applicant for one of five medical marijuana licenses to be awarded by the New York State Department of Health, today announced an innovative job training partnership with Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), a leading two-year college that is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

Fiorello will provide SCCC with $100,000 in grant funding and subject matter expertise to launch a Medical Cannabis Certificate Program.

“We will need to fill a large number of jobs in our planned Glenville cultivation and pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and this partnership will help ensure that Capital Region residents have access to best-in-class scientific and technology training to secure those positions,” said Ari Hoffnung, Founder and CEO, Fiorello Pharmaceuticals. “Fiorello will offer employees good-paying high quality jobs with health and retirement benefits, along with the opportunity to help produce medicine for patients who are suffering from cancer, epilepsy, and other debilitating diseases.”

“SCCC has been a regional leader in workforce training, creating programs that are responsive to our changing economic landscape,” said Dr. Steady Moono, President, SCCC. “These programs have the potential to allow the College to expand its mission to pair our business community with a highly qualified and well-trained workforce. We are excited to initiate a program that will help connect students with this burgeoning industry.”

The non-credit Workforce Development division at SCCC will coordinate the program. The College can become a central training ground and educational center offering students coursework in areas such as hydroponic growing methods, agricultural best practices, and facility management, for this fast-moving field.

“As New York State becomes the 23rd state to legalize the production, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis, rigorous standards and procedures will be put in place to ensure the quality and integrity of the product,” said Matt Grattan, Executive Director of Workforce Development, SCCC. “Our community college is uniquely positioned — both geographically and from a Workforce Development perspective — to help build a trained workforce for this new field.”

In addition to the Medical Cannabis Certificate Program, SCCC will develop training courses in collaboration with Schenectady ARC and the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region. The courses will be designed to provide training for developmentally disabled individuals. Upon successful completion of the training, graduates will become eligible for jobs at Fiorello’s cultivation and pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Glenville.

“We will have a broad range of positions at our Glenville cultivation and pharmaceutical manufacturing facility that will provide excellent employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to work and demonstrate their skills,” said Eric Sirota, Chief Operating Officer, Fiorello Pharmaceuticals. “As a father of a son with developmental disabilities, I fully understand the importance of providing real and meaningful employment for the disabled and very much look forward to a establishing a long-term relationship with Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region and Schenectady ARC for the betterment of the Capital Region

“Governor Cuomo and New York’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) have made New York an ‘employment first’ state, with a renewed focus on helping individuals with disabilities find and keep good jobs in the community,” saidKirk M. Lewis, Executive Director, Schenectady ARC. “Fiorello’s proposal, together with the partnership with SCCC, the Autism Society and Schenectady ARC, is a tremendous opportunity to train workers and offer employment opportunities for a group of workers who, historically, have had very high unemployment.”

“Fiorello Pharmaceuticals and SCCC have proven through the Medical Cannabis Certificate Program that they truly care about the autism community and aiding individuals in finding good-paying jobs in cutting-edge industries,” said Janine Kruiswijk, Executive Director, Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region. “There are many individuals in our autism community that have the skills and abilities to succeed in emerging industries and are looking for an opportunity to showcase their talents. The Medical Cannabis Certificate Program allows them to achieve that goal. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Fiorello to our community and look forward to working together in the coming years.”

SCCC plans to launch the Medical Cannabis Certificate Program in the Fall 2015 semester, if Fiorello Pharmaceuticals is awarded a medical marijuana license by the New York State Department of Health. Those interested in participating in the Medical Cannabis Certificate Program may contact the SCCC Admissions Department for more details on enrollment.

Today’s announcement marks Fiorello’s third major partnership with a New York State academic institution and the second partnership with a school that is part of the State University of New York system, the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. The company has previously announced partnerships with Stony Brook University and Long Island University as part of its $5 million commitment to medical marijuana research.

“For the Empire State to assume a leadership position in this segment of the pharmaceutical industry, businesses and academic institutions will need to work closely together,” said Hoffnung. “We are committed to investing in cutting-edge research and innovative job training programs throughout New York.”

Fiorello Pharmaceuticals previously announced plans to invest $10 million in a state-of-the-art medical marijuana manufacturing facility in Glenville, NY. Fiorello Pharmaceuticals will create more than 100 management, research, and technology jobs in the Capital Region, in addition to jobs in its dispensaries across New York State. Fiorello’s four dispensaries will be operated by licensed pharmacists who will dispense the medicine to New York State-certified patients.

About Fiorello Pharmaceuticals
The mission of Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is to provide patients suffering from debilitating and life-threatening illnesses with compassionate service and access to high-quality medical marijuana from trained medical professionals.  Fiorello aspires to advance scientific understanding, clinical care, and patient education by incorporating medical and pharmaceutical industry best practices into research, development, and education. The name “Fiorello” — Italian for “little flower” — honors legendary New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, who maintained a deep commitment to medical science and the benefits of medical marijuana.

About Schenectady County Community College
One of the 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education, Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) in upstate New York enrolls more than 7,000 students. SCCC offers more than 45 career degree, transfer degree and certificate programs. The College opened its doors for classes in 1969 and continues to provide affordable comprehensive higher education and adult educational opportunities in response to local educational needs. To learn more, visit

About Schenectady ARC
Schenectady ARC is a chapter of NYSARC, Inc., a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families throughout New York State. Schenectady ARC was founded by parents of children with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in 1952, and has been providing an expanding array of supports and services since that time. To learn more, visit

About The Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region
The Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region, New York is a not-for-profit organization that serves people living with Autism in the Greater Capital District and their families. Our mission is to promote lifelong access and opportunities for people on the autism spectrum and their families so they can be fully participating, included members of their communities. We do this through advocacy, public awareness, education and compassionate support. To learn more, visit

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