Few West Side residents apply for jobs
The new Hollywood Casino is expected to employ hundreds of residents on the West Side, but so far, only a few have applied for one of the 2,000 jobs.
Representatives from the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corp. (COWIC) gave the Westland Area Commission an update during its June 20 meeting on the organization's involvement in the hiring process at the casino.
"They are waiting to hire West Side residents, but they are not getting a lot of applicants," COWIC representative Frankie Nowlin said. "Our part, as COWIC, is to recruit, pre-screen and also provide scholarships to applicants."
Nowlin said the nonprofit organization's primary focus is to prepare people for jobs. Hollywood Casino is just one of many employers the organization is working with in order to put people back to work, she said.
"Our focus is to prepare people for employment," Nowlin said. "We do this through comprehensive assessments and what their job interests are."
There are barriers to getting the unemployed back to work, she said. The biggest barriers include transportation, child care and, for some, finding food and shelter.
"We are working in partnership with Hollywood Casino," Nowlin said. "They have 2,000 jobs to fill and 1,200 of those will need specific training. There are a lot of jobs available."
Residents who decide to become a member of COWIC will have access to a lot of tools, Nowlin said, including a touring mobile unit where people can get help with job applications and building a resume. Should a particular job need specific training, COWIC is there to provide scholarships to make sure applicants get the training they need, she said.
"So far, the casino has hired 150 COWIC members," she said. "We have so far given out 66 scholarships for training programs, with 23 going to West Side residents."
Salaries for those positions range from $20,000 to $45,000 a year to start, she said. Available jobs include gaming, surveillance, security, purchasing/warehouse, marketing, information technology, finance, human resources and food service, to name a few.
Commission member Mike McKay wanted to know if any of the positions required a college degree.
"Human resources and most of the supervisor positions do require some college," Nowlin said. "They are hiring 600 dealers and all have to go through training, as well as those people in the culinary arts and video technicians. We are providing as much support as we can."
Nowlin said Hollywood Casinos will not hire people who smoke or test positive for drugs.
"You cannot be a smoker," she said. "It is a smoke-free environment and they do test for tobacco. They want a healthy environment."
McKay wanted to know if the casino would hire anyone with a criminal record.
"It is a case-by-case basis. However, the crime has to be seven years removed," Nowlin said.
Greg Winbush, also representing COWIC, said a lot of the applicants for the new casino are coming from out of state. He said he wants to change that trend and get the word out that the COWIC is there to help West Side residents, or any resident in central Ohio, in applying and training for a job.
"To receive our services, you do have to be a member of COWIC," he said. "We will even bring those services to you."
More information about any of the casino jobs or how to join COWIC is available by calling 614-559-5052 or visiting www.cowic .org.