HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — A Western Massachusetts casino may still be years away from opening, but the process has already begun to train the casino workforce.
Members of the state gaming commission heard that message Tuesday during an informal hearing at Holyoke Community College.
There are thousands of jobs at stake and there will be a need for qualified, trained workers to fill those casinos.
Wiilliam Messner is the President of HCC, which is part of a Community College collaborative that is looking to train casino workers.
Messner addressed an informal meeting of the Mass. Gaming Commission about the important role that community college can play in the training process.
“Irrespective of your opinions relative to the merits of a casino gaming industry, it’s here. It’s going to provide jobs and and we need to do the best we can do to make sure those jobs go to people who really need them,” says Messner.
Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College will play key roles in training casino workers and with three casinos likely to be built across the state we could be talking as many as 10-thosuand employees to be hired :12
And those jobs will come in a wide array of areas not just jobs at the gaming tables.
Messner adds, “I.T., management jobs, facility jobs, hospitality jobs…you name it. Any kind of job that you would tend to find in a major hotel, conference center , restaurant, you’re going to find in a casino setting.”
Also addressing the gaming commission was Frank Callahan, the president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council.
Callahan cited the importance of hiring local union workers for the thousands of construction jobs that will be created as the casino are built,
“this is what we’ve been saying for a number of years, I’ve been personally at this for almost 20 years myself. It’s the same message. It’s about good jobs, good wages. It’s economic development, not just for that specific development, but for the spin-offs that will come with that.”
Callahan says so far in western Massachusetts, they have commitments from three potential casino operators to hire union workers. Those operators so far are Mohegan Sun, Ameristar, and MGM.
Messner also told the gaming commissioners that he would prepare some options to consider about who would pay for their training of all those casino workers.