With the first resort casino in Massachusetts opening in the fall of 2018, MGM Springfield has begun a campaign to attract potential employees.
Although MGM won’t start taking applications and hiring until next year, the company said now is the time for people to see how their skills match up with available jobs. The awareness campaign includes advertisements on billboards, radio, digital platforms, and in print, with television ads planned later, according to a statement from MGM.
There are over 250 job descriptions currently online, according to MGM. People can use the SkillSmart portal to create a profile, match their current experience to the available jobs, and find links to appropriate college courses.
MGM is obligated to create 3,000 jobs with 35 percent of the workforce being residents of Springfield. MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis has said he’s confident the employment goals can be met.
"A big part of our plan are local partnerships that will help us access people and identify their skill sets so we can target the right positions for them," Mathis said.
The casino complex, which will include a hotel, retail and non-gaming entertainment including a movie theater, is projected to have an annual payroll of $90 million, with jobs paying an average salary of $40,000. In addition to hospitality and gaming, the casino will employ people in the fields of finance, human resources, security, building maintenance and information technology, according to MGM.
Although Mathis said 90 percent of the jobs should be filled from the region’s workforce, he acknowledged that people from outside the area are being recruited for the top management positions.
"At the outset many of the senior jobs will go to people who are in the industry, or already with MGM, which is typical," said Mathis.
Casinos were sold to the voters in Massachusetts as badly needed job generators. Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said the industry regulators expect MGM will deliver.
" In Plainville, the casino we have already opened in eastern Massachusetts, they hired half of their workforce from the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed and we would hope MGM is targeting that audience as well," said Crosby.
MGM will begin specialty job training programs next year for people who want to work on the casino floor and in food services.
The MGM Resorts Holyoke Community College Center for Culinary Arts will begin offering credit courses in January. Under an agreement between MGM and the city of Holyoke, free tuition will be offered to 50 Holyoke residents, according to Jeff Hayden, vice president of Business and Community Services for the college.
"Its training to not only get them a job, but a career," said Hayden.
A gaming school will open in Springfield in January.
The state gaming commission, at a meeting in Springfield Thursday, will vote on funding for the school.