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Casino Workers to Receive $1.1 Million in Training from ACCC to Upgrade Workplace Skills

August 26, 2008

Atlantic Cape Community College and Atlantic City casino representatives received a check for $481,950 from the New Jersey Department of Labor today to upgrade the skills of 2,700 workers in the casino industry. The grant, coupled with $654,493 in resources from the Atlantic City Casino Consortium, will allow for $1.1 million in training programs provided by ACCC in culinary arts, computers skills, office supervision and management, customer service and other areas. The Casino Consortium includes Trump Entertainment Resorts, Harrah's Entertainment, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Tropicana Casino and Resort.

Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner David J. Socolow presented the check to ACCC President Dr. Peter L. Mora and casino executives at a special ceremony at the college's Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus.

"The casino training consortium's success demonstrates the shared commitment of the State Department of Labor, the community college sector, and the New Jersey casino industry to foster workforce development and economic growth in the southern region of the state. As training providers, Atlantic Cape Community College continues to play a key role in fostering a competitive edge for New Jersey's hospitality industry," Mora said.

"One of the great things that we can do for our economy is to invest in education and training efforts that assure that businesses have workers with the skills they need to compete," Socolow said. "Public-private partnerships like this one with Atlantic Cape Community College and the consortium of casinos demonstrates the type of leadership we need to provide workers the skills required to succeed in the new economy."

Each casino will develop a customized training program for its workers. Some courses will include culinary arts, computer skills, office supervision and management, computer maintenance technology, card dealer, general finance, electromechanical technology and customer service skills.

Several casino workers who benefited from the training programs funded by earlier grants shared their stories at Tuesday's ceremony, including Raissa Karpenko. Karpenko earned a college degree in computer programming and had a successful career in Kyrgyzstan. She moved with her family to the United States in 1992. She worked as a guest room attendant at Trump Taj Mahal for 15 years, putting her children through college and utilizing the NJDOL-sponsored ESL classes to improve herself. This May, after two years of ESL classes taught by ACCC, Karpenko accepted a promotion to supervisor.

 Another casino worker benefiting from these training programs is Luisa Espichan, who left her career as a registered nurse in Peru in 2003 for life in the United States. She joined Borgata that year as an environmental services attendant, and in 2006 she participated in a pilot of what is now the casino's "Sed de Saber" program, which provides interactive, self-paced and take home format for multi-sensory English language learning for Hispanic adults. Espichan continued ESL classes at Borgata and ACCC, and her understanding of English has led her to become a valued associate at Borgata, where she is assigned a two-way radio and is called on daily to translate for other associates with limited English.