The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is pleased to announce the release of Diversity Goal and Business Technical Assistance Grant Opportunities with a goal of optimizing the outcomes for the diversity goals outlined in Chapter 23K related to the diversity hiring and contracting goals of the casino developers. The Expanded Gaming Law specifically requires that casino developers set their own diversity goals for the utilization of Minority, Woman and Veteran owned businesses as part of the design, construction and operations of the casino with a similar focus on hiring of diverse workforce during construction and operations of the casino.
MGC Director of Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development Jill Griffin said, “The Commission works collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to ensure the gaming industry in Massachusetts is inclusive and provides opportunities that reflect the diversity of the Commonwealth.” Griffin added, “MGC will continue to identify strategies that will maximize the economic benefits from a casino for all Massachusetts residents.”
As part of MGC’s effort to enhance diversity in the gaming industry, MGC has formed an “Access and Opportunity Committee” to bring together stakeholders to focus on diverse hiring and contracting, and report, monitor and analyze diversity and affirmative action plans, efforts and results by each licensee. In addition, MGC convenes and connects licensees to the Commonwealth’s workforce and small business resources including career centers, community colleges and supplier diversity offices.
MGC will now consider funding non-profits, public or quasi-public organizations through this new grant program that serves local businesses that are owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals including minority individuals, women and veterans; and serve businesses that have the potential of doing business with a casino in the Commonwealth. The goals of this grant program include:
•Helping diverse firms succeed in casino markets for goods and services, and as subcontractors to prime contractors during construction.
•Supporting technical assistance like joint ventures and collaboration for smaller businesses and contractors
•Provide specialized assistance to important underserved markets or regions near a casino licensee
•Provide high-quality assistance, such as one-on-one consulting, and training resources to support the needs of existing businesses including strategic and operational planning, financial analysis, opportunity development and capture, contract management, and compliance to eligible small businesses
MGC may award grants and contracts totaling up to $100,000 to support a key focus of work articulated in the guidelines above. Up to $20,000 may be targeted for smaller grass roots, innovative and promising programs. Funds may be awarded in a competitive process open to proven or promising programs, partnerships or initiatives led by nonprofit, public or quasi-public entities. The grants must be used or designated this fiscal year ending June 30, 2016 with the potential of refunding next fiscal year based on budget availability and performance.
The Commission has issued a Request for Response (RFR) to apply for this grant opportunity. Responses are due to the Commission on April 13 (Wednesday) by 5 p.m.
Lastly, organizations interested in applying for funds will have an opportunity to ask clarifying questions about the RFR, Guidelines and Review Process and Timeline on Tuesday, March 29, at 2 p.m. at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, Boston, MA.