State community colleges partner to train casino workforce - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State community colleges partner to train casino workforce

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Educational and employment leaders across the state and here in Western Mass have been in talks for months now to create the Casino Careers Training Institute.

"This is a unique opportunity because of the numbers of people involved, so we expect to be educating literally thousands of individuals," said Ira Rubenzahl, president of Springfield Technical Community College.

An entire workforce coming straight out of Western Mass will be trained not only for jobs on the casino floor but for back office jobs, culinary positions and management training.

It's part of the Casino Careers Training Institute, the result of a joint effort by Massachusetts community colleges, local employment boards and the State Gaming Commission.

Presidents of both Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College made the announcement Monday afternoon.

They say this is an exciting opportunity that will employ tens of thousands across the region that have been without work.

"The impact is going to be significant both in terms of revenues for the state and the localities involved but I think even more importantly in terms of jobs," said President of Holyoke Community College, Bill Messner.

A Western Mass casino is estimated to create about 3,000 jobs.

With the cooperation of local community colleges, they will join together to make sure those in the area get the first shot at employment.

"These folks here have already formed a cooperative arrangement and really have complimentary kinds of programs that will help the developer get off to a very fast start," said Vice President of Human Resources for Penn National Gaming, Gene Clark.

School leaders say that the institute is expected to be up and running a year before a casino would be built.

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