It’s not news that Massachusetts is planning for a major casino expansion. In the years to come, there will be three new resort-style casinos and a slots parlor added to the Bay State, all of which should attract plenty of steady revenue to this formerly gambling-free area. Still, there’s one major question to be answered: who will run and staff these casinos?
New Program in Casino Management Offered
It’s a question that Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts is hoping to provide the answer to. This fall, Lasell will be adding a bachelor’s program in resort and casino management. It’s the first program of its kind east of the Mississippi, and it may well be a popular one, as the four gambling venues are expected to create 10,000 or more jobs in the gaming industry.
“The college already has a strong program in hospitality and event management,” said Lasell president Michael Alexander. “Seeing what’s going on in the state of Massachusetts and New England in the gaming industry, it made sense for us to give our students an opportunity…to compete for the thousands of jobs that are going to be created.”
Skilled Jobs from Within State
These new jobs were one of the big selling points that helped make Massachusetts’ casino plan a reality. However, there have been concerns that many of the skilled labor force would be coming from outside of Massachusetts, as the state neither had a history of casino gambling nor any training facilities available for those interested in obtaining the newly created positions; and the legislation that created the casinos didn’t specify that the venues had to hire locals to fill these spots.
“One of the concerns about casino job generation is that skilled jobs will go to people out of state,” said Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby. “So creating a pipeline of people with the specific skill sets for the higher-end jobs is fabulous.”
More Training Options
The Lasell program isn’t the only way in which state institutions and private companies are helping prepare locals for the thousands of casino jobs that will require training to acquire. The New England Casino Dealer Academy in North Attleboro, Mass., just opened a new facility to train potential dealers how to handle blackjack, poker and other games. The state has also partnered with community colleges to create the Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute, which will focus on entry-level job training.
There are some negatives associated with casino gambling, but schools are preparing their students for those, too. The UMass Boston College of Advancing and Professional Studies has started offering classes on how to counsel gambling addicts. The school’s dean says that the program should help meet the Department of Public Health’s concerns about a potential increase in problem gambling when the casinos begin operation.