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SPRINGFIELD -- A casino job training program set up by Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College and MGM Springfield is expected to start offering classes in February to prospective dealers, pit bosses and croupiers.

The Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute's ambition is to run two cohorts of students through a 15-to-20-week program before the $960 million MGM Springfield casino opens for business in September 2018, said Jeffrey P.

Hayden, executive director of the institute and the colleges' Training and Workforce Options (TWO) program.

The colleges announced Thursday to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which met in Springfield, that they and MGM Springfield have an agreement in place to run the institute.

That agreement still needs the approval of the Gaming Commission.

Hayden said he expects that to happen in four weeks or so.

MGM has agreed to provide $1.4 million of in-kind funding for the program.

That funding will come in the form of space, equipment and staff to teach courses, Hayden said.

The classrooms are currently under construction on the ninth floor of MGM-owned 95 State St.

He anticipates that equipment like roulette wheels and blackjack tables will be installed in October. The colleges will start doing intake work getting students signed up in November and December.

In December and January the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute will offer remedial classes, getting students up to speed with the language and mathematics skills they will need to take courses training them to be dealers, pit bosses overseeing the gambling floor, and croupiers collecting and paying bets.

Classes covering the basics of gambling operations, customer services, security, problem gambling and the specifics of Massachusetts casino laws will begin in February, Hayden said.