Sugarhouse jobs draw hundreds of seekers

    Hundreds of people flocked to the Pennsylvania Convention Center yesterday in the hopes of getting one of the most controversial jobs in the city.

    Hundreds of people flocked to the Pennsylvania Convention Center yesterday in the hopes of getting one of the most controversial jobs in the city.

    [audio: 100427LFCASINO.mp3]

    “End of the line straight down…watch the traffic please…”

    Some of the women in the line for jobs at Sugarhouse casino sported t-shirts and jeans — others wore dresses and heels.  The men were a mixed bunch too: some dressed casually while others had clearly spent a long time fussing over their suits and binders full of resumes.

    But they all have one thing in common: they want a job at the city’s first casino.  SugarHouse is hiring about 800 people in preparation for its grand opening this year.

    East Falls resident Vicki Wilson – number four in line – clutched a black binder and waited patiently in a dark maroon suit and shiny purple earrings.  She says when she was getting ready this morning, she was thinking about one thing.

    “To look my best and hopefully an opportunity will present itself.”

    Wilson has applied for dozens of jobs since she was laid off as a social worker in November. She says she’ll accept any position Sugarhouse offers no matter the pay.

    Near the end of the line, Kevin Ragen is looking for a job in Maintenance.  Ragen says it’s been tough since he was laid off a year and a half ago.

    “Bill collectors they want their money too…They just keep callin and callin and callin.  So hopefully if I get in here I can pay them…  Medical bills.  Regular electric and gas.”

    If Ragen gets a job at Sugarhouse, he could walk to work from his house in Fishtown.

    Many of his neighbors oppose casinos, warning of gambling addictions and a spike in crime and traffic.

    But for Ragen, as for many in the long line, the casino means jobs.

    Back at the front of line Sugarhouse officials usher small groups inside to look at jobs from accountants to valets.

    “I’m blackjack, craps, slots.”

    Southwest Philadelphia resident Marissa Ross applied to be a card dealer at Sugarhouse.

    “I love to gamble.  i been playin cards for 20 years and I’m good to playin cards.  So it’s perfect plus i get to meet people and have a great time.  I’ll enjoy it.”

    Ross says she lost her job as a mental health/mental retardation counselor three months ago.  She wants to get a job at Sugarhouse, so she has more money…to gamble.

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