With the scheduled opening of the first resort casino in Massachusetts less than 100 days away, MGM Springfield is eager to get people to apply for hundreds of jobs that are still open.
MGM has scheduled a series of nine public meetings this week where company representatives will answer questions about casino careers and help people determine which of the available jobs are a good fit with their existing skills.
Wanda Gispert, a vice president of workforce development at MGM, has led a months-long effort to spread the word in schools, community centers, and even churches about the jobs that are available at the $960 million casino.
" We are very much boots on the ground," said Gispert.
With the exception of one outreach session scheduled in Northampton, all the others this week are in Springfield.
MGM is also holding a live Q & A on Facebook Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. that will focus on jobs available in slot machine operations.
Marikate Murren, Vice President of Human Resources at MGM Springfield, said she’s confident all the vital jobs will be filled well in advance of the casino opening its doors to the public on August 24th.
"We have incredible community-based partners, faith-based organizations, the community colleges we have worked with for years, so I am really not concerned," said Murren.
MGM is committed to filing 3,000 jobs at the casino, hotel, and entertainment complex, which includes a movie theater, bowling alley, retail shops and restaurants.
Worries that too many Springfield residents in need of a job might be shut out of an opportunity to work at MGM led state officials earlier this year to relax strict background check requirements for certain positions.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has exempted 127 positions representing about 800 jobs from a registration requirement that would have automatically shut out people with criminal records.
Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said the exempt positions are mostly in food service, reception, maintenance, and office staff.
"As long as they are not involved in the gaming floor or have access to really confidential information, we thought those were positions that were ripe to be exempted," explained Stebbins.
The legislature changed state law to allow the exemptions.
"I think their intention was to see these jobs in many cases as a great entry point to someone who might not have a career right now and we did not want to exclude them from pursueing those opportunities," said Stebbins.
Murren believes relaxing the state registration requirements will help MGM hit its obligation to fill 35 percent of the jobs with Springfield residents.
" It really is a case of opening up the pipeline and giving people an opportunity to apply," said Murren. " We did not want people to self-exclude beause of perhaps a youthful indiscretion."
MGM will conduct its own background checks on job applicants, noted Murren.
Earlier this month at an invitation-only mass hiring event, MGM made job offers to over 200 people. The company plans to host more mass hiring events in the upcoming months.