Published On: Tue, Dec 4th, 2012

Grant to help SCC start table gaming training program

SYLVA – Southwestern Community College has been awarded a $397,519 North Carolina Back-to-Work grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Southwestern Community College president Don Tomas, Ed.D., is shown with senior vice president and general manager at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Resort Brooks Robinson. (SCC photo)

This grant is a result of a partnership between the Community college system and the NC Department of Commerce and provides resources to start a table gaming training program in conjunction with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort.  The grant specifically targets the nearly 1000 individuals in the SCC service area who have exhausted their unemployment within the last year and will provide financial assistance to those who enroll in the classes.

The grant funding is being used to help pay for tuition for a 7-week program that will teach participants live gaming techniques and casino regulations.  With the addition of live gaming this past August, Harrah’s has an anticipated 500 new jobs will be created.  These positions will pay an average of $25 per hour.

“The timing of this grant was perfect for what was happening at Harrah’s.  It allowed SCC to develop a trained workforce for Harrah’s and help the people in Western North Carolina get back to work” said Sonja Haynes, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development at SCC.

“We are excited to have been awarded the N.C. Back-to-Work grant,” said Don Tomas, Ed.D., president of SCC. “The allocated funds have awarded us the opportunity to partner with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Resort.   This initiative will serve to strengthen and expand job skills training to better service one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina, while also helping us form an exceptional workforce development program. “

In addition to the technical skills needed to be a dealer, this program has been expanded to include Human Resource Development (HRD) and Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) classes.  The HRD classes are designed to help students become successful employees by teaching skills in communication, time management, problem solving and how to have a positive self-image.  Instructors also work with the students on how to write a resume and interview for a job.  The CRC is a portable credential that promotes skills and career development for individuals and confirms to employers that they possess basic workplace skills in: applied Math, Reading for Information and Locating Information.

“Harrah’s is proud to partner with Southwestern Community College,” said Brooks Robinson, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Harrah’s. “Bringing together
Harrah’s strong technical competencies that compliment SCC’s Human Resource Development skills courses such as work/life balance, financial health, and coaching for success is really blazing new frontiers for sharing resources in a tight economy.”

Info: SCC, call Sonja Haynes, SCC dean of workforce development at (828) 339-4218.

– SCC

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