Inside MassGaming: Q&A With Jill Griffin, Director of Workforce, Supplier, and Diversity Development
Director of Workforce, Supplier, and Diversity Development Jill Griffin answers questions related to her role in helping the Commission maintain the Legislature’s commitment to a diverse and robust workforce as stipulated in the Expanded Gaming Act.
Q: What will the casinos and slots parlor will bring in terms of employment opportunities?
A: As a collective the industry is expected to bring 10,000 jobs to the Commonwealth that range from highly skilled managerial to semi -skilled and entre- level positions. Employment areas are diverse, ranging in areas such as hospitality, marketing, information technology, retail operations, gaming/slots, security and surveillance.
Each Resort Casino is projected to bring 3,000 jobs, making it among the top 250 largest private sector employers in Massachusetts. It is estimated that each year the payroll expenditure of a resort casino including benefits will be between $120 Million and $150 Million. Slots-only gaming establishment will add another 300 to 500 jobs. During the construction phase of each resort casino project it is anticipated that 1,000 -2,000 jobs are to be created.
To give an example of the scale, the casino in Region B (Western Massachusetts) is projected to become one of the top five private sector employers in Hampden County with approximately twice the jobs of each Yankee Candle at its headquarters and flagship store in South Deerfield and factory in nearby Whately and Smith and Wesson in Springfield. Projected to create thousands of construction jobs, the proposed casino projects are the largest private sector investments in decades, calling for more than $800 million of investments. One of the largest projects of the region was Baystate Health ‘s 640,000-square-foot, $296 million “Hospital of the Future” project in early 2012 which had 250 to 300 construction workers on site at any given time.
Q. How is the Gaming Commission working with the state’s community colleges to train potential employees for these positions?
A. We are proud to be partnering with the community colleges across Massachusetts to identify the gaming industry employment opportunities for residents of the Commonwealth. Providing information about accessing those careers and what licensing, training and education is required will be beneficial to our residents.
In order to effectively respond to the workforce scale up challenge, the Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute and MassGaming partnership will continue to work with state agencies, Workforce Investment Boards/Regional Employment Boards (WIB/REB) and a collaboration of workforce system stakeholders including the one-stop career centers, community based organizations, organized labor, and other public and private educational entities.
In the coming months, the commission will be focusing on the licensing requirements for employment. These regulations will guide how residents can become eligible to work in a casino in a variety of positions. We will certainly be seeking feedback from the public on these proposed regulations. Please check back on our website frequently for new and updated workforce information.
Q. Can you talk about the requirements casino operators have as far as hiring a diverse / local workforce?
A. Diversity and inclusion in all aspects of gaming are a priority and have been emphasized in the legislation, in the regulations and in the application questions that the Casinos are evaluated on. The goal is that the workforce should reflect the diverse makeup of the Commonwealth.
Applicants for a license to operate a Casino are asked as part of the evaluation/ selection process about the diversity of their ownership and leadership and to describe in a workforce development plan how they will hire unemployed and under employed individuals from the local communities near the casino. Additionally, the legislation requires each casino to make agreements with the local/ host community or municipality. Many of these formal agreements specify local hiring goals. The statute requires that casino developers strive to reach specific hiring goals for minority, woman and veterans during the design and construction of the casino.
On November 21st, Ms. Griffin will be a featured speaker at the 5th Annual Diversity Best Practices Forum at Fenway Park. Ms. Griffin will highlight the role the Commission is taking to re-enforce MassGaming’s commitment to diversity and inclusion expressed by the Legislature in the Expanded Gaming Act. She will address representatives from over 150 small businesses who are eager to learn more about the state’s newest industry and how to become a part of this exciting job creation process. Business and community organizations interested in having Ms. Griffin or a member of the Commission address its members, are encouraged to participate in MassGaming’s Speakers Bureau. To request a speaker, please fill out that form located here.