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Columbus Casino Links With Area Colleges To Train Workforce

The range of job skills in Central Ohio includes banking and brewing to making cars and railroad carriages. But, one of the city's newest employers says it needs workers with other skills and it has turned to several local colleges to give needed training. Hollywood Casino, Columbus, needs 12-hundred new workers by early October to staff a new west side casino. Under a new agreement. the casino owners will pay the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation and three area colleges to screen and train qualified applicants. Suzanne Coleman-Tolbert expects a flood of applications. "We're bringing Hollywood Casino who has jobs. So we're going to see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, thousands of people coming out and wanting to have this as an opportunity to get in front of the employer." Says Coleman-Tolbert. Casino general manager, Ameet Patel says all new workers will have to be trained, especially table game and card dealers since they are new occupations to the Central Ohio labor force. "What you'll find is blackjack, for example as a specialty skill, will span anywhere from four to six weeks. If you are including craps. roulette, now you're going to eight, to twelve, to sixteen week program." Says Patel. Patel says Hondros college will train dealers and table game workers. Columbus State Community College will help train chefs and food service workers while Central Ohio Technical College will provide courses for non-gaming employees. Patel says the casinos parent company, Penn National, will re-imburse either the colleges or the successful job applicants for the cost of training. But, Patel says he's unable to give an estimate of the total cost.