Yoamar Vergara was living in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamon when Hurricane Maria hit the island's shores. Two days later, a friend living Springfield, Massachusetts, said she could move in.
Soon after her arrival, Vergara began working as a waitress, but she previously worked in hotel security.
“I was looking for a job, any job I could get, to start,” said Vergara, 29. “Now I’m looking for a better job.”
Vergara was among about 10 evacuees from Puerto Rico who attended an information session Wednesday for people who evacuated the island and are seeking employment. They learned how they can apply for jobs at the new casino.
Puerto Rico has a large hospitality industry, said Jason Randall, MGM Springfield’s talent acquisition director. He said evacuees could add that experience to the applicant pool.
"We recognize that Puerto Rico does have a vast hospitality industry, including gaming and resort operations," Randall said. "So there are individuals that currently have background in these fields that are displaced here in our area."
MGM Springfield says it's committed to filling 3,000 jobs. Eighty percent of those will be full-time positions, and 35 percent will go to residents of the greater Springfield area.