Springfield, Massachusetts has become ground zero for demonstrating a new demand-driven approach to grow its economy and workforce. And the city’s efforts are being recognized and encouraged.

Last month, the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Corporation, located in Springfield, MA, was awarded a “Working Cities Grant” by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. As one of eight jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth to receive the grant, it will use this funding to connect local job seekers to multiple industry sectors in the area based on their skills.

One industry that will impact the community is hospitality. Today, MGM Resorts International, which will open a world-class hotel and gaming facility in Springfield, MA in the Fall of 2018, announced a new culinary training partnership with Holyoke Community College. MGM Resorts is committed to investing in the local workforce through this new gaming school designed to advance the skills of the community.

To identify talent and prepare for proper staffing, MGM has started posting the future opportunities needed for its new facility. Further, they’re outlining what requirements are needed, including the skills and credentials, for each opportunity so the local workforce has a clear understanding of what will be needed to be hired in 2018, and how to acquire the right skills if they don’t possess them today.

To start, students and job seekers interested in culinary jobs can log onto SkillSmart for MGM Springfield today to see what jobs will be available. From there, they can then take advantage of programs like the training partnership between Holyoke Community College and MGM. Between now and the facility’s opening, potential candidates will have time to train and gain valuable experience that will advance their skill sets and strengthen the region’s hospitality industry.

Springfield recognized that it can grow a stronger community when it understands the need of local industry and how those needs align with educational opportunities to create a more qualified and skilled workforce.

Employers like MGM are working with all stakeholders in the community – local education providers, community-based organizations, local businesses, students and job seekers – to make each stronger when working individually and together in building the local workforce.

By using SkillSmart’s platform, MGM has identified the skills needed for each position it will seek to hire. Job seekers then can build an individual profile to see how their skills match the positions they’re interested in.

This profile highlights the skills they need, providing a link to training opportunities offered by local education providers and community-based organizations. By connecting the job seekers to both the employer and education providers, they better understand the skills they need and see the path to acquire those additional skills to make them more competitive for these opportunities.

By better understanding the skills and hiring requirements of local employers like MGM, it’s easier for residents of the community to identify the skills they need to be hired. This also gives local education partners, like Holyoke Community College, the ability to adapt curriculum to meet these requirements, which makes the education process more efficient and cost-effective.

By connecting all the stakeholders – employers, educators and job seekers – each works more effectively to grow the local economy, make the right investments in people, and cause the community in whole to be more successful.

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