Grant money approved for local programs

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MGM Springfield isn’t expected to open until sometime next year, but already the state is working to fill thousands of jobs with local residents.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved nearly $600,000 in grant money to put residents to work at local casinos.

More than $170,000 will go to Springfield Public Schools to increase skills of low-income adults, and $200,000 of the grant money will go to STCC and HCC to create a workforce readiness program.

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Springfield Representative Carlos Gonzalez said the funding is vital to make sure residents have the skill set for jobs coming to Springfield.

“We must make sure that everybody rises to the top as we provide work and economic opportunities to residents of Springfield,” Gonzalez said.

The “Ahead of the Game” program will prepare residents to take on jobs at MGM Springfield with the casino set to open in 2018.

This comes at a time when state lawmakers are working to lessen the workforce skills gap.