"We go union by union, contractor by contractor — 'Do you have that? Have you met the target?'" he says. "If you are an outlier — somebody else is doing 8 percent women and you're doing 0 percent women — we call you out."
But they soon realized there simply weren't enough skilled tradeswomen to meet those goals, so the Commission partnered with unions, non-profits and casinos to get more women in the pipeline.
"It's been very hard," says Michael Mathis, President and chief operating officer of MGM Springfield, a $960 million casino project in the western part of the state set to open in mid-August. "It takes a concerted effort, and it really takes a partnership of the local trade unions, as well as the contractors."
MGM's construction workforce exceeded the diversity requirement, employing 7.5 percent women, including an all-female demolition team. In order to meet the gender diversity goals, MGM's contractors must push the requirements down to their sub-contractors, which often involves additional costs, says Mathis.
"You are taking inexperienced labor and putting them on the site, and you're making sure that you train them up," he says. "But we've made that investment, as have our partners."
Encore Boston Harbor just hit the 7 percent mark last month — a milestone achievement for the newly-renamed project which is struggling to emerge from the shadow of a #Metoo scandal engulfing its former CEO Steve Wynn, and threatening the status of its gaming license. President Bob DeSalvio expects high return on investment made in the diversity initiative.
"It's important to get a woman's perspective on every aspect of the job, whether it's the office or it's out here on the construction site," says DeSalvio. "I think we'll wind up with a better work environment and a better place for our guests to enjoy, because they'll look around and see that we are really reflective of today's society."
The recruitment efforts also focus on hiring workers of color and veterans.