ATLANTIC CITY — Nearly 100 people will receive workforce training in the hospitality industry because of a state grant awarded to the local casino workers’ union.
Unite Here Local 54, the labor union that represents nearly 10,000 employees in the casino industry, was awarded $280,000 from the inaugural Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education program. The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development launched the PACE program in January and awarded more than $1.8 million to nine organizations.
Local 54 will train 96 participants for careers in restaurants and hotels, including chefs, custodians and housekeepers, according to a news release. Registration for the program will begin this month.
“Investing in our workforce is essential to creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all of our residents,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “These new initiatives will continue our efforts to invest in our people by providing the necessary training and education to grow our middle class and reignite the innovation economy.”
The PACE program seeks to “encourage the growth of career pathway opportunities for people disconnected from employment, training and education,” according to the state labor department. The program also attempts to “eliminate economic barriers commonly associated with an individual’s inability to invest in skills training and work readiness.”
“Our PACE program is a natural complement to our existing apprenticeship offerings, and these new partners will help us develop a rich pipeline of highly qualified and highly skilled individuals seeking placement in a Registered Apprenticeship program or other good, sustainable employment,” said Robert Asaro-Angelo, state labor commissioner.
Local 54, the state labor department, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, New Jersey courts, state gaming regulators, the casino industry and the College and Community Fellowship teamed up in 2018 to launch a first-of-its-kind work program called HireAC! that provided training in hospitality careers for those with low-level criminal records.
Thirty-eight people completed the HireAC! program and were provided jobs in the Atlantic City casino industry.