As the state gaming commission considers bids for the three state casino licenses, community colleges in Western Massachusetts are spearheading a statewide initiative to build training programs that will prepare the state's future casino workforce.

Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner says it’s time to build a broad curricula that will address the needs of a casino complex.

“Not just the hospitality industry, but anything and everything that undergirds that industry, from maintenance to IT to security - you name it," Messner said. "They’re going to need workforce and hopefully the training programs and slash educational programs that either are in place or will be put in place will address those needs."

The state gaming commission is set to issue casino licenses in April 2014. Messner says Holyoke Community College is collaborating with casino developers in its planning, and that community colleges throughout the state will roll out their training programs once the licenses are issued.

The Massachusetts Casino Careers Training Institute is working with the Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey for the gaming curricula.

"Our notion was that there is no sense in reinventing the wheel that is used on the gaming floor," he said. "None of us have had gaming curricula in place and rather than develop a gaming curricula, why not got to that organization that's been doing gaming in terms of workforce development for 25 to 30 years. So we signed a contract with Atlantic Community College to use their curricula and have their consulting purposes."