A new gaming school began accepting registrations for classes today from people who hope to get jobs in the soon-to-open MGM Springfield casino.
Orlando Marrero moved to Springfield four years ago to care for his elderly parents. Now, he hopes to become a professional card dealer -- and perhaps someday a supervisor -- on the gaming floor of the MGM casino when it opens next year.
" It would mean a lot for the future of my family, myself and especially my son," said Marrero.
He was among about two dozen people who signed up for classes at the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute’s new gaming school Wednesday morning during a registration kickoff event.
Classes start February 26th, 2018.
The gaming school in Springfield is a joint venture of Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College.
The school offers programs to train people to run six different types of casino games including blackjack, poker, and craps. Classes are scheduled to be held 20 hours per week for 10-12 weeks. Tuition ranges from $199-$599.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis for about 700 openings for the inaugural classes according to Jeff Heyden, executive director of the casino school.
"My expectation is we will have significant demand," said Hayden, who added that over 200 people had previously inquired about taking classes at the school.
Students who graduate from the school with training in at least two different table games will be guaranteed a tryout, or what MGM calls an “audition,” to work in the casino.
Robert Westerfield, Vice President of Table Games for MGM Springfield, said he’s looking to hire 400-500 people.
" The qualifications are a great attitude. You bring the right attitude and we will give you the skills," said Westerfield.
People who are offered jobs by MGM to work as dealers must pass a criminal records background check and obtain an employee license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said the gaming school is fully accredited.
" We partnered with the community colleges very early on to set the curriculum," explained Stebbins. "You can't open your doors in Massachusetts to teach gaming without a license from us."
Registration for the table games classes was launched with an event at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield attended by about 200 people, including elected officials, education, and business leaders, who came to hear details about the new school.