Jan-13-15 Christie Administration Receives More Than $29 Million to Re-employ Atlantic City Casino Workers
National Emergency Grant to Focus on Training, Skills Development and New Jobs
“We want to thank the USDOL for this National Emergency Grant, which is the result of some very hard work by many people in my department and in our partner agencies who have been on the scene in Atlantic City, working to re-employ the impacted workers since the first casino closed exactly one year ago. We obtained this funding by fully establishing the significant impact this economic shift in the Atlantic City gaming industry has had on the community, other businesses and the workforce throughout the Jersey Shore region. This grant will enable us to expand and build upon the re-employment efforts we already have put into play in response to the casino closings,” said Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The USDOL announced today that it will release an initial $13,154,140 of the total $29,385,743 awarded, which represents the full funding requested in November by the state Department of Labor when it applied for the grant and proposed a strategy to assist the workers through re-employment orientation sessions, employer-driven training programs, integrated literacy and career pathway programs and on-the-job training. The state Department of Labor will oversee the grant, which will be operated by the Atlantic Cape May Workforce Investment Board and the Cumberland Salem Workforce Investment Board. The overall plan is to build on the strong partnerships between the state and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and cooperative relationships that have been developed with employers and industry associations in the region.
The state will tap into the ability of the state’s community colleges to respond to the workforce needs of employers and the significant expertise of the state’s seven industry-focused Talent Networks, which were developed by the Christie Administration to resolve the skills-gap between the talents New Jersey employers need to find in new employees and the skills of the state’s workforce.
With the additional funding from the National Emergency Grant, the state Department of Labor and partners will provide the following services:
- Orientation sessions for all individuals impacted by the casino closings to provide information on available services and to provide job search and labor market guidance,
- Job search assistance and employability skills development,
- Basic skills, literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs connected to career pathways,
- Employer-driven training programs that incorporate job placement opportunities and career building credentials, and
- Employer-provided on-the-job training (OJT) grants to assist employers to hire layoff affected workers and to increase the skill levels of individuals.
Beginning in late August, an estimated 6,778 workers were impacted by the closing of the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, the Revel Casino Hotel and the Trump Plaza Casino. Previous to that, the January 2014 closing of the Atlantic Club impacted approximately 3,000 workers.
The state Department of Labor additionally identified 37 additional employers who have closed or laid-off significant numbers of employees as a direct result of the closure of these casinos.
In the immediate aftermath of the casino closings, the Department of Labor staff joined the Unite Here casino union in assisting displaced casino workers at two response centers opened by the union in space provided by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to assist any casino worker seeking help. The Department of Labor offered the workers guidance on job training opportunities, skills assessments, resume development, filing for unemployment insurance, job search assistance and referrals to the state’s Jersey Job Clubs.
The Department of Labor also hosted its largest single career fair at the Atlantic City Convention Center on Sept. 10, 2014, when more than 1,500 job-seekers turned out to meet with 60 employers looking to fill about 1,500 positions.
Workers impacted by the casino closings will be contacted by the state Department of Labor in regards to programs expanded through the National Emergency Grant. National Emergency Grants are part of the USDOL Secretary of Labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines.