A new wing of Atlantic City’s Atlantic Cape Community College campus will target a local workforce for the hospitality and gambling industry.
The $10 million wing, which will be ready for occupancy in fall 2014, will hold classes for culinary arts, computers, English as a second language and hospitality management. It was funded by matching funds from Atlantic County, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Caesars Entertainment.
The two-story addition will house culinary training on the second floor and provide two kitchens for the Academy of Culinary Arts. It has been named the Caesars Entertainment Wing for Hospitality and Gaming Studies.
The idea to have training kitchens within the city limits has been discussed for a long time, said Richard Perniciaro, who is in charge of operations at the campus. He attended the signing and hoisting Tuesday of the final steel beam for the 20,000-square-foot wing on Bacharach Boulevard.
A large percentage of employees for Caesars Entertainment are in Atlantic City, said Caesars spokeswoman Katie Dougherty, who was also at today’s event.
“This will be a Jitney ride versus a trip on the 507 (bus) to get to the Mays Landing campus,” she said.
Lori Yeager, regional vice president of human resources for Caesars, said many employees already are in similar training classes provided by the company, and this provides an additional avenue for furthering education and training.
College President Peter Mora said it will meet the needs of both the employers and employees of the 12 casinos in the city.
Additionally, Dougherty said, students graduating from high school can use the training as a way of seeking opportunities — either temporary or permanent — in the casino industry.
Susan Ney Thompson, deputy executive director of CRDA, said the conversation about such a facility in Atlantic City began in 2007, when the authority sponsored a study by Rutgers University to determine if training facilities were a viable option.
What the study revealed was that there were a lot of people in Atlantic City that were unemployed and it was recommended to invest in the educational infrastructure to give residents an opportunity to expand their careers, Thompson said. Caesars already provides similar training, which especially benefits immigrant families.
These supportive courses will give students practical training integrated with instructional technology, Mora said. The culinary center can train up to 2,000 students per year.
To date there was “no central location for workforce training,” Mora said. It only makes sense to respond to the “three legs of the stool — hotels, gaming and food and beverage.”
The programs are offered “in modern facilities that will respond to new technology and new job opportunities,” said Helen Walsh, a trustee on the college’s board.
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