Briefcase

HCC, STCC Launch Gaming School, Open Registration for Classes

SPRINGFIELD — Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College officially launched the new MCCTI Gaming School, where area residents interested in working as professional card dealers or croupiers at MGM Springfield can start taking training classes early next year. HCC and STCC, through TWO, their Training and Workforce Options collaborative, and MCCTI, the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute, will run the gaming school on the ninth floor of 95 State St., Springfield. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently issued a certificate to MCCTI to operate the school. “MGM Springfield is inspired by our educational and workforce-development partners’ strong commitment to creating a healthier regional economy through career opportunities,” said Alex Dixon, general manager for MGM Springfield. “We are grateful for their willingness to learn about and adapt teachings for the gaming and hospitality industry. Today, we celebrate this milestone and look forward to hiring the first-ever table-game professionals in the Commonwealth.” The launch event also signaled the opening of registration for training classes, which will begin Feb. 26 in anticipation of the opening of the $960 million MGM Springfield resort casino in September 2018. Jeffrey Hayden, vice president of Business and Community Services for HCC, who also serves as executive director of TWO and MCCTI, noted that the MGM International website prominently features two new resort casinos MGM is building that are literally half a world apart, one in Springfield and another in Macau. “There will be a $1 billion facility one block from here,” he said. “The show is coming to Springfield.” A full schedule of training classes, along with course descriptions, prices, and school policies is available on the MCCTI website at www.mccti.org under ‘Gaming School,’ where job seekers can also register and explore other employment possibilities with MGM. “The citizens of the region want to work in positions that provide a livable wage and the potential for advancement,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “MGM Springfield will provide both, right in the heart of our region in downtown Springfield. I want to thank the community-college presidents for their continued dedication to providing people with the education and skills they need to be successful in the job market.” Robert Westerfield, vice president of Table Games for MGM Springfield, said starting out as a dealer with MGM can truly open up career pathways with the organization. “I started off as a craps dealer,” he said. “I stand before you as vice president of Table Games. Anybody can do it. If you bring the attitude, we’ll give you the aptitude.” In 2012, the presidents of the state’s 15 community colleges signed a memorandum of understanding with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to work collaboratively to provide training for casino jobs in each of the state’s three defined casino regions: Greater Boston, Southeastern Mass., and Western Mass. In the Western Mass. region, MCCTI is operated by TWO. “We know that economic development and workforce development are not separate efforts,” said STCC President John Cook. “It is imperative that economic and workforce development are integrated for the benefit of our region’s businesses and citizens. The investment of MGM Springfield will allow many of our citizens to begin the process of getting employed and establishing a career pathway.” Added HCC President Christina Royal, “I particularly appreciate HCC’s historic and continuing partnerships with STCC in support of the workforce needs of area businesses. Both colleges offer a wide variety of educational and training options for job seekers and incumbent workers in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, engineering, hospitality, culinary arts, and many other fields. MCCTI and events like today reinforce the important role community colleges play in the state and regional economy.” The MCCTI Gaming School will provide dealer training in blackjack, roulette, craps, poker, and other casino games. Participants who successfully complete training programs for at least two different table games will be guaranteed an ‘audition,’ or tryout, for a job at MGM Springfield.

Report: Massachusetts Is Healthiest State in the Nation

BOSTON — Massachusetts is the healthiest state in the nation, according to the 28th annual America’s Health Rankings report. Among the state’s strengths are its low percentage of uninsured people, low prevalence of obesity, and high vaccination rates. The 2017 report also ranked Massachusetts first for the health of women and children. “This report highlights the notable progress that our state is making to improve the health and well-being of every individual living in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts is proud to have the lowest number of uninsured residents in the country and robust public-health efforts, and our administration will keep working across all levels of government to ensure quality healthcare and a safe, healthy environment for our residents to live, work, and play.” The 2017 report analyzed 35 measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes data. The report serves as a benchmark for states — and the nation — to measure progress, identify emerging trends, and drive action for improving public health. Last year, Massachusetts ranked second, behind Hawaii. “This year’s findings demonstrate that our focus on improving health outcomes is making a real difference in the lives of Massachusetts families and communities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Today’s news is a testament to the hard work and dedication of many people working across state and local government, healthcare providers, and at the community grassroots level to make Massachusetts healthier.” Among other categories in which Massachusetts was ranked first were immunizations of children ages 19 to 35 months; immunization of adolescents ages 13 to 17 years with Tdap vaccine, a combination vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough); percentage of the population that is uninsured; number of dentists per 100,000 people; and number of mental-health providers per 100,000 people.

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