New Jersey Helps Displaced Atlantic City Casino Employees

14 Jan 2015 | 12:15 Author: King, George

On Tuesday, the United States Department of Labor announced that Atlantic City workers, the ones that lost their jobs during the recent spate of casino closures, would receive assistance in the shape of a $29.4 million federal grant.

The key purpose for the granting of the National Emergency Grant from the US Department of Labor is for training programs the will help the former casino employees learn new skills for jobs in different fields.

During the course of 2014, Atlantic City saw the closure of 4 casinos, leaving over 8000 people jobless, a figure that is estimated to be at least one fifth of the total Atlantic City casino workforce. Due to the casino boom the US is currently experiencing, Atlantic City has struggled to keep its head above water as the competition from out-of-state casinos has dramatically increased.

“The Atlantic City economy was dealt a staggering blow with the closure of these casinos,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez in a statement to the press. “For the thousands of workers who lost their jobs as a result, we are committed to providing the resources, support, and training they need to get back on their feet.”

According to the grant application submitted by New Jersey, about 14% of the unemployed workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher and over 45% have a high school degree. The grant proposed the workers receive expanded training, placement, education, literacy and on-the-job training that will assist employers when hiring the affected workers as it makes them more suited to the jobs on offer.

Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian, who has long been at the forefront of plans to revitalize Atlantic City including legalizing sports betting and introducing online casinos to the state, says he is thrilled by the news of the Federal Grant and is convinced that bringing jobs the famous Atlantic City boardwalk is key to keeping the city solvent.

“The timing could not be better,” Guardian said when asked about the grant. “All this [job] training is no good if we don’t have the jobs.” He pointed out plans and proposals to reopen or convert the Revel casino, the Showboat Casino – which has recently been sold and will be converted into a college campus – and Atlantic Club properties as well as “Bass Pro Shop and the conference center at Harrah’s, and said “we are providing literally thousands of jobs and now we have the resources to provide training for these jobs.”

Members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation: Democratic Senator’s, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez and Republican Frank LoBiondo, announced the grant on Tuesday. 

George King
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