Gaming Commission Hears Recommendations For Casino Training Institute, Hiring Local Workforce

The panel that oversees the Bay State’s new gambling law returned to western Massachusetts today (Tuesday) to hold its regular weekly hearing.
With three of its five members at a gaming conference in Las Vegas, the meeting at Holyoke Community College was convened to update the Gaming Commission on a plan by 15 community colleges in the state that would, among other things, develop a Career Training Institute. It would implement workforce programs to recruit, screen, counsel and place qualified workers in the state’s three future casinos. At the poorly amplified hearing, Holyoke Community College President William Messner said the Commission also needs to define screening requirements, such as residency, drug testing and education, particularly for licensed positions in the casinos.
“We’re also recommending that a certification be established for all casino workers. And then finally, no surprise, at some point we need to nail down just how is all this going to be financed.”
Representatives from the Pioneer Valley Building Trades Council asked the Commission to add provisions guaranteeing workers from the region are hired to build the resort casino in Western Massachusetts. The representatives say the casino could be the single largest construction project ever in the area, but are concerned workers from western Massachusetts could be passed over for the 2,000 projected construction and other trades jobs by larger, more well-connected out-of-town contractors and their crews. The full five-member Commission is expected to convene again for the next public hearing in Boston next Tuesday.