Updated: Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012, 8:35 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012, 6:42 PM EDT
BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) - At least 30,000 applicants will be needed to fill more than 10,000 job openings in the new Massachusetts casino industry -- That’s according to a coalition of community colleges, which is working with developers and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to make sure there’s a ready workforce to meet the demand.
"One of the main reasons for doing expanded gaming in Massachusetts was to generate jobs, quality jobs for people in Massachusetts," said Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.
With more than 200,000 people unemployed across the state, community colleges want to make sure that jobs from the casino industry go to local workers. Right now, colleges are working with developers to identify what jobs and how many are needed for the three casinos and single slots parlor that are expected to be up and running within years in the Commonwealth. Job applicants will likely need to be screened, trained and licensed.
“The community colleges are working with the Commission to determine the process potentially that could be used for hiring and what occupations within the casinos will require specific training and certification that currently isn’t available in communities,” said Robert Lepage, the vice president of foundation and workforce training at Springfield Technical Community College.
Community colleges say some of the challenges Massachusetts faces are an aging workforce, a lack of education for those currently unemployed, and few professional workers that regularly deal in the customer service and hospitality sectors. In next few months, the Gaming Commission will decide whether some casino jobs will require criminal background checks and whether others will require further screening or licensing.
“Obviously our focus will be on recruiting underemployed, chronically unemployed people who this is a great job opportunity for them and feed them into a system that hopefully at the end of the day will produce a career for them,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins.