MGM Springfield details hiring, training plans with opening less than a year away
Jim Kinney | The Republican, Springfield, Mass. | October 12, 2017 3:12pm
Oct. 11--SPRINGFIELD -- More than 4,700 people -- a number that includes 1,500 who say they are from Springfield -- have registered with MGM Springfield's online hiring and job readiness site with less than a year to go until the mammoth casino project opens in the city's South End.
That 4,700 number includes 3,900 Massachusetts residents. The vast majority of Massachusetts applicants, 3,300, are from Hampden County. That number, in turn, includes the 1,500 Springfield residents and 300 job seekers from Chicopee, 200 from Holyoke, 100 from West Springfield and the remainder from a smattering of other towns.
Not all 4,700 job seekers will be successful. The casino promised the state that it would create 3,000 permanent jobs when it opens. It is estimated MGM will have an annual payroll of $90 million.
Saverio Mancini, director of communications for MGM Springfield, released the statistics from the company's SkillSmart online portal Wednesday, one day before MGM executives present their most recent hiring plan to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at its regular meeting in Boston.
Mancini said MGM plans to show off its efforts to hire at least 35 percent of its workforce from Springfield. It's doing this by working with community groups and neighborhood advocates and launching a publicity blitz.
Visitors to MGM's hiring website get directed to its Skilsmart page, where applicants answer questions, have jobs suggested to them and are told what training they need to get jobs they want.
Job creation was a stated goal of the state's casino legislation, a law passed in the wake of the Great Recession, and one of the reasons Springfield was selected for the lone Western Massachusetts casino.
The presentation also comes as the casino operator finishes negotiating an agreement with Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College to train dealers, croupiers, and others for the gambling floor, said Jeffrey Hayden, of the Center for Business and Professional Development at Holyoke Community College.
Hayden said the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute's plan is to run two cohorts of students through a 15- to 20-week program before the $960 million MGM Springfield casino opens for business in September 2018.
MGM will provide $1.4 million of in-kind funding for the program. That funding will come in the form of space, equipment and staff to teach courses, Hayden said. The classrooms are currently under construction on the ninth floor of MGM-owned 95 State St.
The community colleges expect 1,000 applicants and the school will enroll 550 in the next year. Of those, 400 will graduate and be the casino gambling floor workers MGM says it needs.
Hayden said the institute will start teaching the first course, an introduction to the Massachusetts gaming law, in December. Courses will start in earnest in February with classes on specific games: poker, blackjack, etc.
And that's just for the gaming floor. He said the the $6.2 million MGM Resorts HCC Center for Culinary Arts opens in The Cubit building at Race and Appleton streets in Holyoke in November.
The culinary center will train people not just for MGM but for jobs in all the area restaurant and institutional kitchens in the region, Hayden said.
That's true as well of programs at both community colleges teaching customer service skills, security, computer systems and other skills MGM will need but are not exclusive to it or even the casino industry.
Mancini said MGM Springfield will need at least 1,000 workers on the casino floor including dealers, pit managers, slot machine technicians and the like. Food, beverage and culinary will need 800 workers and the hotel will need 115.
MGM expects to hire 55 for engineering and maintenance, 500 for general administration and 80 for valet parking, bus greeters and similar jobs.