MassGaming awards grant to support an innovative recruitment and outreach strategy aimed at increasing diversity in the building trades
Newly formed Alliance Sets Ambitious Goal of 20% Tradeswomen by 2020
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is pleased to announce its support for a first-of –its-kind, statewide program that will implement a focused effort to increase the number of women in the building trades. Massachusetts is nationally recognized as a leader in the movement to employ women in the trades; however, female construction workers remain underrepresented in high wage jobs. As Massachusetts continues to experience a historic building boom with expanded gaming at the forefront, MGC has awarded more than $150,000 in grant funding to launch a new partnership that will carry out a comprehensive recruitment strategy to encourage more women to pursue a career in the building trades. In addition to the creation of a pipeline navigator, this initiative will include the development and implementation of a comprehensive communication campaign to increase awareness and support the program’s overarching goal of 20% tradeswomen by 2020.
In November 2016, MGC issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a non-profit organization to optimize the outcomes for the diversity goals outlined in the Gaming Law. MGC sought to fund a non-profit organization to serve as a single point of contact to direct women, with a particular focus on increasing women of color as applicants, through the admissions and enrollments procedures of the various union building trades. MGC’s RFP inspired the creation of a statewide partnership, known as the Northeast Center for Tradeswomen’s Equity (NCTE), composed of stakeholders with considerable expertise in advancing opportunities for women in construction.
NCTE is a newly formed Massachusetts-based stakeholder alliance created to increase women’s participation and retention in the building trades and to facilitate a community-driven career development process for disadvantaged workers. The principal partner groups include the Building Pathways Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program (BPI), the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District (MetroBTC), the New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC), the Policy Group on Tradewomen’s Issues (PGTI) and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO (MA AFL-CIO). This multi-stakeholder collaboration brings together a leadership team with decades of experience and a proven track record of success in increasing access and opportunities for women and people of color to enter careers in the union building trades in Massachusetts.
“It is gratifying to know that the state’s gaming industry is playing a pivotal role in galvanizing a new initiative with the power to inspire and achieve a more diverse workforce within the construction trades. I hope this effort is a catalyst for a future of economic security and pride for a largely untapped and underutilized pool of diverse workers,” said MGC Chairman Steve Crosby. “This program is an excellent example of the Legislature’s intent to create a more diverse and skilled workforce that will ultimately enhance economic opportunity for all Massachusetts residents – an essential mandate of the Expanded Gaming Act.”
Casino licensees in Massachusetts have regularly met and exceeded their diversity goals for construction hiring. Though a particular challenge for casino developers and developers, in general, is the supply of women in construction trades. To address that challenge, NCTE will put forth a strategy aimed at overcoming barriers to women’s entry into the construction trades by creating and implementing best practices for gender diversity in the Massachusetts trades.
“NCTE is encouraged by the formidable commitment demonstrated by MGC and its licensees to ensure the hiring of women and minorities for casino construction. Casinos are the prime drivers of the demand side of the supply and demand strategy. For example, MGM Springfield has jump started similar efforts to increase diversity on development projects in Western Mass,” said Susan Moir, NCTE member and UMass Labor Resource Center & Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues.
“The new expanded gaming industry has facilitated the achievement of significant milestones to the benefit of the entire Commonwealth, and most importantly, to advance a better quality of life for Massachusetts residents and working families,” said Lisa Clauson, NCTE member representing Western Massachusetts and New England Regional Council of Carpenters.
MGC’s Director of Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development Jill Griffin said, “Thousands of casino construction jobs combined with the industry’s commitment to setting the diversity standard provides an excellent opportunity to have an actual impact on a long-standing recruitment challenge,” Griffin added, “Gaming is about connecting people with opportunity. Inspiring women to pursue a career in the building trades is a path to equal pay for equal work, great benefits, and a better future.”
The expanded gaming industry is currently at the forefront of the state’s building boom. Wynn Boston Harbor is the largest single phase construction project in the history of the Commonwealth. MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor are expected to provide over 6,000 construction jobs to the Commonwealth over a multi-year period.
MGC and NCTE have partnered with the marketing firm, KHJ Brand Activation, to develop a full brand concept and comprehensive communications campaign including digital and mobile strategies to increase awareness and outreach.
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