Gaming School Glimpse

DATE: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

HCC, STCC, MGM offer preview of MCCTI Gaming School

HCC president Christina Royal tests her blackjack dealing skiils as MGM trainer Angel Rivera of Springfield offers tips.

The house was full, and not just at the poker tables.

Reporters, photographers and many others flocked to downtown Springfield Tuesday for a chance to preview the new MCCTI Gaming School in advance of its scheduled opening Monday, Feb. 26.

The school, on the ninth floor of 95 State St., overlooking construction of MGM Springfield's $960 million resort-casino, will train area residents who want to work for MGM as dealers and croupiers in a variety of casino games, including poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and mini-baccarat.

HCC is running the Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute Gaming School with Springfield Technical Community College through their TWO (Training and Workforce Options) collaborative and in partnership with MGM Springfield, which owns the gaming school facility and will supply the trainers.

Take a look inside the gaming school in our Facebook photo gallery.

Classes are now forming. MGM expects to hire as many as 450 new employees to work at casino game tables.

"The opening of the MCCTI Gaming School is a testament to the way in which collaborations between community colleges and workforce partners can bridge the gap between the skills of individuals and the needs of employers," said HCC President Christina Royal, who toured the school and got some tips from experienced MGM trainers at one of the blackjack tables, where she practiced dealing to students already registered to attend classes there.

"We provide residents with pathways to careers that lift families out of poverty, raise lifetime earnings and reduce costs to society, and we ensure that employers have the skilled workers they need to enable their businesses to thrive," she said. "The partnership between HCC, STCC and MGM is an example of what we can achieve when we work together. This and future collaborations are what it takes to ensure that our region and its people thrive."

The gaming school occupies one large room set up to mimic a casino floor. It is equipped with 30 tables (four poker, four roulette, four craps, two mini-baccarat, 12 blackjack, and four novelty), 432 decks of cards and eight sets of dice.  Fifteen professional trainers will run three class sessions each day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Tuesday's sneak peak also came with some big news for prospective students. MGM announced a tuition reimbursement program for students who successfully complete training in two table games, pass their try-out, get hired and work for MGM for at least one year.

The school itself is also offering a payment plan for students that will allow them to start classes for as little as $200.

A full schedule of training classes, course descriptions, tuition costs and other details at the MCCTI website. 

In other news, Michele Cabral, most recently HCC's interim dean of Business and Technology, will oversee day-to-day operations at the gaming school as its acting director.

Cabral started her career as a certified public accountant for KPMG Peat Marwick and later worked for CIGNA Insurance and Farm Credit Financial Partners Inc. where she was the chief financial and operating officer.

She joined HCC in 2014 as a full-time member of the business faculty, teaching accounting.

The West Springfield resident holds a bachelor's degree from Westfield State University and an MBA from Elms College.

She will also remain interim dean of HCC's Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs, until a permanent dean is hired for the Business and Technology position.

For more information, check out these recent news stories about the Gaming School.

MGM, community colleges show off dealer school (video and photo gallery)

MGM offers tuition reimbursement for gaming school students

WAMC-Northeast Public Radio
MGM offers tuition reimbursement for gaming school

Western Mass News:
MGM offers sneak peak at new gaming school

Valley Advocate:
Sneak Peak Inside New Casino Careers Training Institute

PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: (Above) HCC president Christina Royal tests her blackjack dealing skiils as MGM trainer Angel Rivera of Springfield offers tips. (Thumbnail) Jeff Hayden, HCC vice president of Business and Community Services, with HCC president Christina Royal and Michele Cabral, acting director of the MCCTI Gaming School, during a preview event at the school.