Massachusetts Gaming Commission Grants $1.5M in Workforce Development Initiatives to Boost Career Training across Commonwealth

Photo Courtesy of Holyoke Community College.

During a public meeting on April 11, 2024, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted to fund a pair of Workforce Development Grants through the MGC’s Community Mitigation Fund (CMF). Those initiatives aim to provide comprehensive career training opportunities to individuals living in the vicinity of Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield. The applicants – the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board and Holyoke Community College’s Adult Education and Workforce Development Program – were each awarded $750,000 for their respective projects.

“The grants that have been awarded from the Community Mitigation Fund to these important workforce development initiatives will empower individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue rewarding career opportunities,” said Interim MGC Chair Jordan Maynard. “The Community Mitigation Fund serves a vital role at the MGC and throughout the Commonwealth, providing robust, tangible impacts for citizens and communities across Massachusetts.”

The CMF was established under the Expanded Gaming Act, as part of legislature’s commitment to social responsibility reflecting a proactive approach to address the diverse needs of the local population by supporting communities and governmental entities in offsetting impacts related to the operation of gaming facilities.

“The support of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, through the Community Mitigation Fund, has enabled Holyoke Community College to provide training for critical Line Cook positions at MGM Resorts Springfield and other regional employers,” said Kermit Dunkelberg, Assistant Vice President of Adult Education and Workforce Development at Holyoke Community College. “Through our partnerships with Springfield Technical Community College and Springfield Public Schools, we also help adults attain high school equivalency, digital literacy and job readiness skills leading to employment. As a result of this support, we have provided opportunities to hundreds of adult job seekers since 2017, addressing the needs of the culinary-hospitality workforce in Hampden County, including MGM.”

The grant will be channeled into a range of workforce development programs, including but not limited to occupational training in relevant hospitality industries, skill-building workshops, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, GED and HiSet certification, and digital literacy courses to enhance employability of applicants. Access to specialized certifications and credentials recognized by employers across various sectors will also be available.

“MassHire Metro North Workforce Board (MHMNWB) and its partners are thrilled to be able to continue the important work of the Metro Boston Regional Gaming and Hospitality Consortium (MBRGHC) through this grant,” said MHMNWB President and CEO Chris Albrizio-Lee. “We are appreciative of the Mass Gaming Commission and Encore Boston Harbor for their continued partnership, and we look forward to helping residents across the Metro Boston region connect with and prepare for high quality gaming and hospitality careers.”

Since 2015, the MGC has granted approximately $48 million in funding to advance needs in transportation, community planning, workforce development, and public safety initiatives for eligible municipalities and government entities located in the vicinity of Massachusetts casinos.  For more information, please visit the Community Mitigation Fund page.

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