Laid-off Casino Employees Still Looking for Work
Twenty-six weeks of unemployment benefits are set to run out this month for most of the workers laid off by the recent string of casino closures in Atlantic City.
Coincidentally, a special workforce program launched Monday at Atlantic Cape Community College, made possible with a multimillion dollar emergency grant from the federal government.
More than 7,000 former casino workers, and folks indirectly affected, such as linen company employees, have been invited to join in the special sessions that will run into the summer.
"We have scheduled 45 dislocated casino workers, twice a day," said Catherine Starghill, executive director of workforce operations and business services with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. "We have a two-day session in store for them."
During the first session, invitees are offered career counseling, skill reviews and labor market information. On the second day, an employability plan is developed, and some people could be placed in educational or occupational training that comes along with additional benefits to tack on to their 26 weeks.
Services are available on select days for laid-off workers who did not file for unemployment benefits.
"We are also offering on-the-job training grants to employers hiring these candidates, and that's a $10,000 salary reimbursement for up to six months," Starghill said.
In addition, those who land a job can be eligible for reimbursement of child care and transportation costs, as well as expenses related to purchasing a work uniform.
New Jersey was awarded a National Emergency Grant of $29.4 million in January. The state is currently working with the first tranche, $13.1 million, and will receive the second portion at a later date.
"There are thousands of foreclosures and sheriff sales currently taking place because of these people who've lost their jobs," the letter read. "Now they are losing their homes because they cannot pay their mortgages or taxes."
A New Jersey Department of Labor spokesman said in the few weeks after the shutdowns of Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza, 4,143 unemployment claims were filed with the state. That figure does not include claims filed by employees of other businesses, such as restaurants and shops, that also shuttered due to the casino closings.