A safe bet

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Collaboration between colleges has helped to launch a new training venture.

Last week, Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) launched the new Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute (MCCTI) Gaming School. Starting in February, people interested in working as professional card dealers or croupiers can start their training.

The timing is important. The $960 million MGM Springfield resort casino will open in Sept. 2018.

“There will be a $1 billion facility one block from here. The show is coming to Springfield,” said Jeffrey Hayden, HCC’s vice president of business and community services.

“MGM Springfield is inspired by our educational and workforce development partners’ strong commitment to creating a healthier regional economy through career opportunities,” said Alex Dixon, general manager for MGM Springfield. “We are grateful for their willingness to learn about and adapt teachings for the gaming and hospitality industry.”

The Gaming School is the result of years of successful collaboration between HCC and STCC. The two colleges formed Training and Workforce Options (TWO) in 2011, which offers customized workforce training for businesses in the Pioneer Valley. TWO operates the MCCTI in the western region of the state.

“Community colleges are in the business of education, and we operate in the public interest, so it makes sense that HCC and STCC would want to be involved in the training of individuals from our communities who want to work for MGM, where there will soon be a lot of new jobs available and potential career opportunities,” HCC President Christina Royal said. “Any time we, as a college, can directly connect the dots between an educational program and a career pathway is a benefit to both the residents of our communities and the businesses who employ them. As good community partners we want our residents to be educated, skilled and properly trained for the jobs that are available and offer the most potential.”

And MCCTI also is a result of collaboration. Presidents of the state’s 15 community colleges signed a memorandum of understanding with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in 2012 to work collaboratively to provide training for casino jobs.

“We know that economic development and workforce development are not separate efforts,” STCC President John B. Cook said. “It is imperative that economic and workforce development are integrated for the benefit of our region’s businesses and citizens. The investment of MGM Springfield will allow many of our citizens to begin the process of getting employed and establishing a career pathway.”

You can talk about this collaboration at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.