A message from Commissioner Bruce Stebbins after delivering remarks to students graduating from Cambridge College Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute
Applause. High fives. Parents and friends. Cheering instructors. All hallmarks of a graduation ceremony repeated across the country this time of year. However, a graduation event held at Everett High School over the weekend was different. Some of the graduates will be taking to the gaming floor at Encore Boston Harbor in just a few weeks.
I had the privilege of attending the graduation of students who have completed training for one or two casino games at the Cambridge College Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute or, as it has become known, “Bet on U”. On Saturday, June 1, almost 200 students were in attendance to receive certificates for their course completion. Over half of the school’s students come from the casino’s host city of Everett or many of the surrounding communities, including Boston, Malden, Chelsea, Medford, and Cambridge.
Over 40% of the students at the school are diverse and female. Five percent of the students who have enrolled are self-reported as veterans. Offering these new careers to local residents was a critical priority of the Expanded Gaming Act, and many graduates were those seeking to try a new career, find a new job after retirement or hoping to be part of something new and exciting – working at a destination resort casino that is the largest private development project in the Commonwealth’s history.
The school is the successful collaboration of Cambridge College and Encore Boston Harbor. I had the opportunity to visit the gaming school recently with Jill Griffin, the MGC’s Director of Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development. Not only were students being taught by gaming industry professionals, but using professional equipment in a room even equipped with high definition security cameras to create a professional setting. We had a chance to visit students and hear about their background and why they were choosing to enter the gaming industry.
For some of these students, success at the school was aided by scholarship monies provided by the Commission’s Community Mitigation Fund. In 2018, the commission awarded $600,000 to our partners – Metro North Regional Employment Board and the Boston Private Industry Council – to support training programs, and $55,000 was allocated to critical scholarship funds for students needing the financial resources to afford the tuition. For the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 classes, 54 students received scholarship assistance.
On Saturday, students were recognized for passing training for one or two games. For some students, it was more than two. Evan (Tommy) Le completed training in Black Jack, Novelty Games, and Baccarat. He was joined in the parade of graduates by his sister Katie, mother Jennifer and stepfather Tom, who all completed training on one or more games. As all the graduates passed through the receiving line, Encore Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio was on hand to personally congratulate them and encourage them to invite other family members or friends to enroll in the gaming school for the next set of classes beginning in July. As soon as the event ended, many graduates went downstairs to pick up their employee passes to begin the onboard training on the property beginning Monday.
For more information about the school and to learn about how to sign up for classes this summer, head to BetOnU.com.