SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Thousands of potential casino jobs, but will their plans actually work?
The 22News I-Team discovers two distinct ways Springfield's casino contenders want to fill those positions
You've seen the commercials, you've heard the promises, but can those promises be kept? MGM and Penn National Gaming's job plans are drastically different. MGM plans to hire 35% of its workforce from Springfield, but 90% that includes Springfield and the entire region.
Kelley Tucky is MGM's Vice President of Community and Public Affairs. "It would be disingenuous to promise a large amount of jobs to Springfield and then forget out the region because the whole meaning behind that legislation is regional impact."
Penn National's plan is to hire 90% of its workforce from the city of Springfield.
Eric Schippers is Penn National Gaming's Senior Vice President of Public Affairs. "If you were to try to hire 90% level tomorrow you couldn't do it. We're talking about going training and developing a workforce frankly much of which is not out there today. It's a giant undertaking."
Overall, MGM ( 3071 jobs) is offering about 600 more jobs than Penn National Gaming ( 2400 jobs)
The 22News I-Team went to the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County to find out what impact those plans could have on other businesses in and around the city.
"It will have an impact across the entire region", says Larry Martin.
Martin is the Business Services and Special Projects Manager for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. "Many businesses have already approached us with concerns that their staff may be attracted to these opportunities."
To avoid that, Penn National and MGM have different strategies, but they told 22News the end result will be the same.
"We are not in the business of trying to poach from local businesses. This is about training, identifying maximizing opportunities", says Schippers.
"You don't want to cannibalize we don't to negatively impact retail hospitality food and beverage. You really need to look at what you can do to build up that whole workforce", says Tucky.
Martin told 22News their hope is that the region's unemployment numbers go down. "We are looking at approximately 6800 individuals that are on the unemployment rolls in Springfield and 18,700 throughout Hampden County that are available workforce to be trained and recruited for these opportunities."
Penn National has more regional gaming experience than MGM, but it has never tried to accomplish what it setting out to do in Springfield.
" We've been able to accomplish the 90% number from a broader market standpoint as opposed to a specific city. This is an ambitious goal, this will be the first one if we're able to, we can do it. It's the right opportunity for the city and for Penn National Gaming", says Schippers.