Want To Hire or Get Hired In Cannabis? – Interview with Karson Humiston Founder & CEO of Vangst
The cannabis industry is booming and so is the hiring process, but what about the talent, the experienced and the newly navigated waters of finding the right placement into the right companies and opportunities?
Luckily, there’s a solution for that and it came from Karson Humiston, an entrepreneur who recognized a need early on to fulfill the role of hiring for a swiftly emerging industry.
When I was a senior I sent an email to my network of students and recent college graduates asking them which industries they were interested in working in. Over 70% responded saying the cannabis industry. I didn’t know anything about the cannabis industry but this intrigued me so I took a week off of school to go to a cannabis trade show to learn more about the industry… the cannabis industry was about to take off, there were tons of jobs, and cannabis businesses had a hard time hiring. – Karson Humiston
What is Vangst and how does it help people looking to work in the cannabis industry?
Karson: Vangst is the cannabis industry’s leading hiring platform. We’re on a mission to build the cannabis industry through people and since launching in 2016, we have successfully connected thousands of people with jobs at leading cannabis businesses around the US & Canada.
In addition to our powerhouse team with decades of recruiting experience, our technology platform, Vangst GIGS, makes it easy for cannabis businesses to connect with on-demand talent. Vangst is headquartered in Denver, CO with offices in Santa Monica, CA & Oakland, CA.
We have raised capital from leading tech and cannabis investors, including Lerer Hippeau and Casa Verde Capital.
From Left to Right: Will Zins, Jordan Smith, Karson Humiston (founder), Jenna Myers, Max Ireland
Karson, how did you go about founding Vangst? What peaked your interest in the cannabis industry?
Karson: When I was a senior I sent an email to my network of students and recent college graduates asking them which industries they were interested in working in. Over 70% responded saying the cannabis industry.
I didn’t know anything about the cannabis industry but this intrigued me so I took a week off of school to go to a cannabis trade show to learn more about the industry.
I found out a few things: the cannabis industry was about to take off, there were tons of jobs, and cannabis businesses had a hard time hiring. I started Gradujuana (now Vangst) while I was still in college and haven’t looked back since!
Check Out Cannabis Employers HERE
You recently released an industry report about women working in the cannabis industry. Can you tell us a bit about the purpose of this report and its findings?
Karson: At Study after study has shown that the highest performing teams are those that are diverse and I’ve been incredibly inspired by all of the amazing women paving the way for the future of cannabis.
The purpose of the Women in Cannabis report was to determine the number of female-identifying individuals employed in the cannabis industry. We surveyed 116 cannabis companies throughout the nation to get a closer look at hiring practices and jobs held by female-identifying individuals.
At Vangst, we’re setting an example for the industry with 54% of our team being female-identifying individuals and 63% of our management team being female-identifying individuals.
The results of the study showed that of the 116 cannabis companies we surveyed, 38.5% of employees are female-identifying individuals. As a whole, the industry is more inclusive to female-identifying individuals than most other industries.
However, it also showed that we still have a long way to go in order to become the truly inclusive industry we are destined to be. For example, the largest company we surveyed employs 500 people, but only 10% of them identify as female. Simply put – we can do better.
More Vangst reports coming soon!
See Full Vangst 2018 Salary Report HERE
A recent article stated that Vangst is in talks with the city of Oakland for involvement in their cannabis equity program. Can you tell us a bit about this and what else Vangst is doing on the social equity front?
Karson: Vangst is currently working and discussing multiple ways to support other general businesses with their hiring requirements of social equity workers and local Oakland residents.
What else has Vangst done on the social equity front?
Karson: We’ve sponsored and organized the 2nd Annual Cannabis Equity Summit + Expo in Oakland on April 26 – https://whova.com/web/aese_201904/
We’ve also coordinated with Make Green Go and their non-profit arm The Allyance (public/private partnerships that help support equity operators and workforce) in the following ways: currently creating a survey to identify hiring trends and maturity of equity licensees since attending Make Green Go’s boot camp classes, workshop, etc
Thanks for sharing Vangst with us Karson!
Karson: Thanks for letting us talk about Vangst on your platform!
Karson Humiston – Founder & CEO of Vangst