New training for state workforce in light of proposed casino - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

New training for state workforce in light of proposed casino

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A new casino means new jobs to people here in Western Massachusetts.

However, what does it take to become qualified to work at a casino?

That was one of the questions answered at Tuesday's state gaming commission meeting.

A series of steps were presented so that a group of 30,000 people across the state will be skilled enough to fill the more than 10,000 jobs that will be created if a casino is built.

It is predicted that people in Western Mass will take 3,000 to 4,000 of these jobs in hospitality, construction, business operations and in the gaming industry.

"The community colleges in the state feel that it is our mission to be very involved in this whole area workforce development for the casino industry," said Bill Messner, president of Holyoke Community College.  

To fill these positions, 15 community colleges, including Holyoke Community College, as well as area career centers, have planned to partner with the gaming commission to make sure that people will be qualified.

"The planning has to begin now. And that's why we're working with the gaming commission to set down the regulations by which our training programs would adhere," Messner said.

These training programs would give people with different educational backgrounds a chance to be trained to qualify for open positions.

People with only a high school diploma all the way up to people with a master's degree would be included.

However, out of all the positions that need to be filled, construction jobs are some of the most important.

"It would definitely be thousands of construction jobs. We're talking about a minimum investment of 500 million and up. We'd obviously like to see that go as large as possible, and not just for our specific interests for the building trades... but the larger the facility, the larger the spin-off for our economy, and as a whole in the area," said Frank Callahan, president of Massachusetts Building Trades Council.

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