County pledges assistance for dislocated casino workers

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Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson is pledging the assistance of county government for residents who are facing the threat of unemployment due to the projected closings of Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza casinos.

More than 6,500 Atlantic City casino employees recently received Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification or  WARN notices advising them in advance of scheduled closings or mass layoffs. The effective dates are Aug. 18 for 3,286 Revel employees, Aug. 31 for 2,139 Showboat employees, and Sept. 16 for 1,153 Trump Plaza employees.

“This is troubling news for these individuals and their families,” Levinson said. “We want to assure them that we are working with the casinos, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, area businesses and community partners to help them through this difficult time. We will help facilitate job fairs, provide opportunities for training and retraining, job search assistance, education and counseling to all who wish to avail themselves of these services.”

The Atlantic Cape May Workforce Investment Board (WIB) has been asked to work with Showboat Atlantic City and the state’s Rapid Response team to inform Showboat employees about programs available to them as dislocated workers, including unemployment compensation benefits and their rights with respect to wages, severance and benefits related to termination. The WIB is also working with Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of Showboat Atlantic City, to coordinate mini job fairs exclusively for casino personnel.

The WIB has not yet been contacted by Revel Entertainment or Trump Plaza, but according to Levinson, WIB representatives are available to speak with their employees and provide similar assistance as needed.

The intent is to address these employees before the closing of their workplaces so they can begin the process of completing forms for unemployment and any other benefits for which they may qualify, explained Levinson.

“For those who are living paycheck to paycheck, any means by which we can expedite the receipt of benefits is invaluable.”

The Atlantic County One Stop Career Center, located at 2 S. Main St. in Pleasantville, is another county resource for those who are unemployed, recently laid off, working but underemployed, or a young adult ages 14 to 21. It provides residents with information on educational classes, high school equivalency testing, job search activities, resume writing, interview preparation, job training opportunities, and other services to help improve job related skills. Services are provided free of charge based on availability and eligibility. See www.learntrainwork.com  to learn more.

Atlantic Cape Community College is also committed to this effort. Representatives from the college’s admissions, recruitment, and continuing education departments are scheduled to address Showboat employees later this month and again in early August with information about Atlantic Cape’s credit programs and training opportunities.
“Atlantic Cape Community College is an integral part of the Atlantic City community, and we stand poised to assist those in need with numerous programs and training opportunities,” Atlantic Cape President Peter Mora said. “Our credit options in areas of study like education, criminal justice, communications  and aviation, and in-demand training programs in health care, computers, technology and IT certifications and gaming offer employees the skills needed to succeed, whichever path they choose. And our Academy of Culinary Arts offers both credit and continuing education programs at Mays Landing and Atlantic City campuses.”

Beginning in September, Atlantic Cape’s Caesars Entertainment Wing for Hospitality and Gaming Studies at the Worthington Atlantic City campus will offer 17-week culinary and baking and pastry training programs. The Casino Career Institute is available to train dealers in their second and third games.

The college will hold an open house at each campus in October where residents can learn about its programs. Call 609-343-4900 or see www.atlantic.edu for more information.

“The impact of these casino closings will be felt well beyond these employees,” Levinson said. “While this period of contraction is painful, it further underscores the importance of diversification to help stabilize and grow our regional economy. Atlantic County is committed to this end.”

 


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