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With Many Job Openings At Its Springfield Casino, MGM Boosts Pay, Offers Bonus

Door to the MGM Springfield casino
Paul Tuthill
Employment at the MGM Springfield casino is about half of what it was prior to the pandemic shutdown in 2020.

Cooks among the jobs in high demand

The MGM Springfield casino was sold to voters as a jobs-generator. But now, employment openings are going begging.

After laying off 2,000 people when the casino complex closed at the start of the pandemic in 2020, MGM has been gradually hiring as its gaming operations ratchet back up, venues reopen, and amenities return.

But like all companies in the current economy, convincing people to come back to work can be a tough sell for some, said Jennifer Russell, a regional human resources director with MGM Resorts International.

“Some people have gone back to school to learn different skills, so now is the time they are starting to rejoin the workforce,” Russell said.

MGM Springfield had 1,034 people working there as of its last quarterly employment report at the end of June. There are about 75 job openings posted now.

To be competitive in the labor market, MGM has increased the pay for many of the open positions and is offering an employee retention bonus of up to $2,000, said Russell.

“It is to help show people there is a lot of opportunity and it truly is for career development and growth,” Russell said. “You can have an entire career with MGM Resorts.”

The hospitality industry was among the hardest hit during the pandemic. A lot of restaurants closed their doors and never reopened.

As a result, people may have soured on careers in the industry.

“We were successful with bringing back prior employees,” said Chris Smigel, Executive Chef at MGM Springfield. “As far as the industry as a whole, I can’t speak to where they’ve all gone. Potentially got to see a life of balance with COVID not working and decided to do a different career path. Not sure.”

Smigel said he is looking to hire at least 20 cooks for the restaurants in the casino complex. He said adjustments have had to be made to account for the staff shortages.

“Have we closed anything? No. Have we limited ourselves to be successful? Yes,” said Smigel. “We have made decisions to reduce to give the best experience rather than give more people a worse experience.”

On Tuesday August 31st, MGM is holding a job fair from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in a ballroom at the casino. Offers of employment will likely be made on the spot, said Russell.

“We provide all the training,” Russell said. She said “a great attitude” and an eagerness to work for MGM are what the recruiters key in on.

When it was licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM agreed to hiring goals for Springfield residents, minorities, veterans, and women. Prior to the pandemic, it hit the targets in all areas except women.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.