SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Fifteen community colleges in Massachusetts are now part of a new consortium that will offer casino jobs training programs.
Two of them are right here in western Massachusetts, Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College.
From a Blackjack dealer to a hostess... and everything in between. A resort casino in western Massachusetts means new jobs.
Kaitlyn Howard of West Springfield told 22News she'd be interested in a part-time position, if it meant helping her with paying the bills.
She said "It's a great opportunity for this region. We don't have a lot of opportunities now, so I think it's a good idea because I'm being affected by the tax and everything. So I think it'll help out with that."
To train thousands of people who may be interested, four developers and local community colleges signed an agreement on Monday, forming a partnership with the Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute.
Educators told 22News no matter who gets the license to build here in western Massachusetts, they want the consortium to be the go-to place for all job seekers. The consortium will provide training, certification and licensing.
Bill Messner, President of Holyoke Community College told 22News "Our mission is to provide training and education that speaks to the public's needs... The state's needs. Here's a critical need, a critical opportunity."
Developers and educators said working through one consortium is a win-win approach to filling 3,000 positions.
Gene Clark, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Penn National Gaming, said "One of the groups here today has the culinary institute, and it's a huge area of need in the casino industry. There's a constant pipeline of culinary talent that we need."
The consortium wants the program up and running by at least one year before the opening date of a casino.
It's unclear where the funding will come from though, but community college presidents say most likely it'll come from the State and developers.