First published by MassLive, January 24, 2018. 

In Puerto Rico, Omyra Merced worked at several hotels planning events. “I worked in tourism and event planning, doing weddings and parties, things like that,” she said Wednesday. “After the hurricane, many of the hotels closed, so finding employment is difficult.”

Merced was one of a dozen Puerto Rican evacuees who attend an informational session at the MGM Career Center on East Columbus Avenue to fill out job applications.

“We’re here to talk about career opportunities that we can offer to those individuals displaced by the hurricane in Puerto Rico,” said Jason Randall, MGM Springfield‘s director of talent, acquisition and development. “We recognize that Puerto Rico does have a vast hospitality industry, including gaming and operations, and there are individuals who have backgrounds in these fields who are displaced in this area.”

With 3,000 jobs to fill at MGM, Randall is confident that some evacuees will have a chance at a new career and a new start in life.

“We will talk about jobs with anyone who wants to listen,” Randall said. “We are committed to 3,000 jobs, of which 80 percent are going to be full-time positions on property with us, so our goal in 2018 is to fill all of those positions.”

While the language barrier has been a major hurdle for many people seeking jobs, MGM has many employees fluent in Spanish. Several of them were on hand Wednesday to guide the applicants through the process of submitting their resumes and applying for jobs using the SkillSmart program available in the career center’s computer lab.

MGM Springfield is expected to open in September.

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