With another casino closure looming, Atlantic City workers crowd job fair

Applicants line up Wednesday at a job fair  in Atlantic City. Caesars International held the event at Bally's as it tries to fill more than 500 positions at its casinos in Atlantic City

Applicants line up Wednesday at a job fair in Atlantic City. Caesars International held the event at Bally's as it tries to fill more than 500 positions at its casinos in Atlantic City

About six weeks before the planned shutdown of the Taj Mahal Casino Hotel puts 1,800 employees out of work in Atlantic City, workers flocked to a job fair staged by another casino seeking experienced help.

Applicants lined up at the Grand Ballroom at Bally’s Wednesday, hoping to be selected for the more than 500 jobs Caesars Entertainment is trying to fill at its casinos in Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Caesars, Bally’s, and Harrah’s casinos in Atlantic City are trying to fill 275 full-time, part-time and seasonable jobs, said Donna Karver, director of human resources.

“We’ve got table games positions open. We’ve got slots positions open. We would love to have housekeepers that worked at the Taj that can come to a Caesars, or a Harrah’s or a Bally’s and hit the ground running,” she said. “We know what to expect. They know what to expect. Really, it would be a great outcome.”

Erin Chamberlin, the general manager of Horseshoe Baltimore casino, said they have 200 job openings.

“Gaming is very new in Maryland. We don’t have an experienced gaming workforce, and I worked here for six years so I know the quality of candidates that you have in Atlantic City, the experience that’s here,” she said. “And so we would love to bring some of those experienced folks down to Horseshoe Baltimore and fill some of our open jobs.”

Brian Jones, a talent acquisition manager for Harrah’s Philadelphia, said he was looking for qualified applicants to fill 70 jobs including culinary workers, security details, and dealers.

“Some are open positions immediately. Some positions are within a month. Every position needs to obtain some sort of a license,” he said. “So there’s a licensing process in Pennsylvania we’ve got to follow, but as soon as possible.”

After serving food at the Taj Mahal for 17 years, Al Mallimaci said finding new employment in the industry might be difficult.

“You got to figure at the Taj alone there’s going to be about 1,800 of us that are going to be out of work by Oct. 10,” he said. “I want a job. I have a home. I have a family. I have responsibilities.”

Carlos Rivera has been working at the Taj Mahal for six months and said he is looking for another housekeeping job.

“I’m just basically looking for what I know, just trying to maintain a job at this point in this city. It’s pretty hard being as I have a wife and a child and another child on the way,” Rivera said. “So I’m just trying to keep my head above water right about now.”

Reed Bennett has been a finance manager at the Taj Mahal for three years. Before that he worked at the Atlantic Club casino that closed.

“You go to the next place, you don’t know how long before the same thing happens. Other places might be a better option to go elsewhere. You got to stay positive … because it was kind of an unexpected turn of events,” Bennett said. “So you just got to move along and try to maintain. That’s it.”

Many of the Taj Mahal employees who will lose their jobs are hoping to stay in South Jersey, but some said they’ll move if that’s what it takes to have a job.

Eric Reynolds, director of Mayor Don Guardian’s employment and job training program, said he’s hoping the job losses from casino closings in Atlantic City are nearing an end.

“Those casinos that went out of business, the other casinos picked up market share so they’re hiring,” Reynolds said. “So we’re hopeful that this, along with the development projects that are going on, that we’ll get these people back to work.”

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