SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved close to $600,000 in grants — including two for the city of Springfield — for a workforce-development pilot program designed to fund gaming career pathways for local residents. The Workforce Program is a component of the 2017 Community Mitigation Fund, which was established by the state’s gaming law to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operations of gaming establishments.
The Workforce Program was developed to provide interested residents in gaming regions the ability to attain academic and occupational credentials needed to work in the most in-demand occupations related to the gaming industry. Additionally, it was established to assist the unemployed or underemployed to either get their GED or Adult Basic Education, which would position them to get future jobs in the casino industry or training in advance by the backfilling of jobs.
The two initiatives in Springfield include:
• $171,833 for a program the Springfield Public Schools is working to establish called Ahead of the Game, which will target low-skill, low-income adults interested in pursuing long-term careers with MGM Springfield; and
• $200,000 for Hampden Prep, an initiative involving Springfield Technical Community College in collaboration with Holyoke Community College to develop and implement an innovative high-school-equivalency and workforce-readiness program.
“Workforce-development programs are a critical component of job creation, economic opportunity, and the Commonwealth’s ability to meet gaming’s burgeoning hiring demand,” said MGC Chairman Steve Crosby. “MGC looks forward to further collaborations as we continue to work together to ensure that we are able to deliver on our legislative mandate to establish a highly skilled and diverse Massachusetts workforce for the state’s new casino industry.”