The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Tri-County Community College, Cherokee County’s Economic Development Department and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort are moving forward to assess the workforce needs of the new Cherokee County casino. As part of that effort, five of the people who will be instrumental in identifying how those needs can be met got a behind-the-scenes look at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
Donna Tipton-Rogers, President, Tri-County Community College; Paul Worley, Director, Economic and Workforce Development and Small Business Center, Tri-County Community College; Kelly Hemmer, Coordinator of Career Services Center and Human Resources Development Program, Tri-County Community College; Josh Carpenter, Economic Development Director for Cherokee County; and Pam Dickey, Manager of the Murphy Division of Workforce Solutions Office got a chance to tour the casino, see first-hand how it operates and find out what types of skills are needed by employees.
The new casino will create an estimated 900 jobs on-site and inject up to $39 million in wages into the surrounding area. “At Tri-County, we want to offer courses that help prepare future employees for as many of these jobs as possible,” said Tipton-Rogers. “We want to ensure that residents living in the Tri-County Community College service area are qualified and benefiting from these significant employment opportunities.”
As part of their visit, Tipton-Rogers, Worley, Hembree, Carpenter and Dickey walked through the hiring process, took the dealer math test and saw the licensure application that must be filled out. They also observed a new hire orientation, toured the casino and met with Principal Chief Michell Hicks.
“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians values our neighbors, and is looking forward joining forces with the people of Cherokee County and Tri-County Community College,” said Chief Hicks. “The Tribe is committed to economic development throughout the region, and that means working with our partners to identify workforce needs and reducing unemployment.”
The guests were able to obtain a realistic job preview and observe a variety of employees while they worked. “We were able to speak with a number of employees, some who are current residents of the Tri-County Community College service area, who told us about their background, training and the skills they need everyday,” said Tipton-Rogers. “We can now use their experiences and insight to help make sure we are properly training our students for these types of jobs.”
Besides a Table Games School, Tri-County will also offer new programs in gaming management, hospitality management, culinary arts and customer service.
– EBCI Public Relations