MGC Honors Access and Opportunity Committee as Encore Boston Harbor Presents Complete Construction Diversity Results

During an MGC public meeting on September 10, 2020, members of the MGC’s Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development staff invited representatives from Encore Boston Harbor and contributors to the Access and Opportunity Committee to present on complete diversity results from the construction of Encore Boston Harbor.

In December of 2014, the Commission voted to establish the Access and Opportunity Committee, an initiative developed to support the MGC’s ongoing commitment to achieve diversity within the Commonwealth’s expanded gaming industry.

The Committee’s primary function was to monitor diversity in the construction workforce and supplier base of the state’s gaming licensees, and to make related recommendations to the Commission and/or licensees.

“The Access and Opportunity Committee was the pivotal diversity strategy of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, providing monthly oversight of the licensee’s progress towards their diversity goals, along with strategic interventions and advice,” said Jill Griffin, the MGC’s Director of Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development.

The MGC invited individuals with expertise in labor, workforce development and supplier diversity to join the statewide committee, including representatives from the Commonwealth’s Supplier Diversity Office, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues, New England Regional Council of Carpenters, and State Office of Veterans Affairs. Regional subcommittees were also established, which included the following: each licensee; local unions; community groups like One Everett and the Black Economic Justice Institute; and the Urban League, MA Minority Contractors Association, and Hispanic American Institute.

“The concept of an Access and Opportunity Committee, while done in the community on smaller scale for a long, long time, was really made much more concrete by Governor Deval Patrick at the UMass Boston campus about 12 years ago, and we learned a ton there,” said Liz Skidmore of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters during the public meeting. “Then, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission saw the success, and said, ‘Alright, let’s do this here.’”

“Since then, this model of an Access and Opportunity Committee, hosted by the project owner with contractors reporting, has expanded to over 30 projects worth more than $6.5 billion dollars in Massachusetts,” Skidmore continued. “Other state agencies have adopted this after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission did, and it’s been a really important tool.”

“I think one of the most positive stories is the ongoing impact of what we did and how it’s continued to grow and develop in the Greater Boston area,” said Jacqui Krum, Encore Boston Harbor’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, during the meeting.

Following the construction data closeout of the $2.6 billion Everett casino project, Encore Boston Harbor submitted their final construction diversity report to the MGC, with updated information regarding construction vendor spend and workforce data.

Overall, nearly six million work hours were completed on the project site by 7,752 workers, including 1,870 minorities, 491 women and 311 veterans.

  • Minorities performed 25.7% of workforce hours, exceeding the 15.3% project goal.
  • Women performed 7.2% of work hours, exceeding the 6.9% project goal.
  • Veterans performed 5.3% of work hours, exceeding the 3% project goal.

Encore Boston Harbor diverse business (minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses) participation during construction totaled $257.2 million of construction contracts and purchase orders, with a total qualified construction spend of $1.4 billion.

  • MBE’s were awarded $83 million, or 5.9% of the qualified spend, exceeding the 5% goal.
  • WBE’s were awarded $180.7 million, or 12.8% of the qualified spend, exceeding the 5.4% goal.
  • VBE’s were awarded $39.4 million, or 2.8% of the qualified spend, exceeding the 1% goal.

“It’s really significant what happened here,” Skidmore said. “Just for context, women have made up somewhere between three and four percent of the construction industry in the country for 40 years, in spite of a lot of efforts to raise the numbers. The fact that we hit 7.2 percent [female work hours] is a really big deal.”

“Gaming is about connecting people with opportunity, and we are pleased that the gaming industry has played an important role in the movement to increase opportunities for tradeswomen,” said MGC Chair Cathy-Judd Stein. “We hope the Build A Life That Works campaign, launched by the MGC and Northeast Center for Tradeswomen’s Equity in 2017, will continue to enhance economic opportunity for women, while inspiring the Commonwealth’s construction industry for years to come.”

“The MGC’s Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development staff thanks the participants of the Access and Opportunity Committee and commends Encore Boston Harbor for working to ensure equity in the construction of the casino in Region A as the legislation intended,” said Griffin.

To learn more about the MGC’s Access and Opportunity Committee, click here.

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