ATLANTIC CITY — Organizers say this won’t be like any other casino job fair.
For perhaps the first time in the history of the city’s gaming industry, all the resort’s casinos will gather today with one purpose: to hire local residents.
For a city with a nearly 17 percent unemployment rate, and a history of having a portion of its population considered unemployable by the gaming halls, the job fair at Atlantic Cape Community College’s Charles D. Worthington campus seems daunting.
But organizers say the effort to hire local residents also seems stronger than ever.
“The good news is, everybody is on board,” said Kim Townsend, a spokeswoman for Mayor Lorenzo Langford’s Atlantic City Strategic Planning Committee, from which the job fair idea originated.
City government is reaching out to community groups and running notices of the job fair on local access television stations in an effort to not only get local residents to the job fair, but have those residents prepared for employment, Langford spokesman Kevin Hall said.
“We’re getting suggestions as to how to identify people who might need a little help,” Hall said. “As we build toward that date, we are looking for anyone who is deficient in terms of (writing) resumes and reaching out for assistance. There are some tutorial types of programs that community organizations have.”
ACCC spokeswoman Kathy Corbalis said the college sent an e-mail about the job fair to the more than 2,000 of its students who are local residents. The college is also using its Web site and other social-networking systems to further advertise the event, she said.
Like the city, the college is urging students to prepare resumes, get a suit and even take time off from their current jobs if necessary so they can attend the job fair, she said.
“They really feel serious about making a really strong effort to get Atlantic City residents a shot at these jobs,” Corbalis said. “They know we have a source of trained, eager folks.”
The job fair runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The casinos will have jobs available relating to culinary, food and beverage, hotel, housekeeping, marketing, security and dealer operations. Those attending can review the positions, ask questions of the casino representatives, and get on-the-spot interviews.
Gaming hall officials who are helping to coordinate the program declined comment about past problems with hiring city residents.
“I don’t feel comfortable speaking for the industry,” said Tina Tartaglio, vice president for human relations with Tropicana Casino and Resort.
However, Hall said the economic downturn may have an upside for the gaming halls ability to hire city residents.
“There is an increase in the number of people who are better able to take advantage of these jobs than there were previously,” he said.
Richard Perniciaro, director of ACCC’s Center for Regional and Business Research, said organizers also “wanted to get past the discouragement that comes with the run of not so good news about employment, as well as the perception that employers would rather go find summer help overseas.”
While the main purpose of Wednesday’s event is to put as many city residents as possible to work, Townsend said local officials also want it to serve as a symbol that something good is happening here.
“Truth be told, we do want to make sure that this comes out in a positive light,” she said.
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