CUMBERLAND — A 12-week training course in the skill of card dealing began Tuesday for nearly 100 students who hope to land jobs this spring with the new Rocky Gap casino, according to Jeff Kirk, the interim vice president of Continuing Education and Work Force Development at Allegany College of Maryland.
The course, known as Dealer School, was developed in collaboration with ACM and Lakes Entertainment, the company managing the new Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort.
“We are very pleased about the course. It’s a win-win for both (ACM and Lakes). The training meets their needs and we get continued funding for the college,” said Kirk.
Those who successfully complete the training could work at 10 gaming tables that, along with 558 slot machines and two restaurants, will make up the main core of the resort’s casino.
“The classes are held each day. It’s five days a week,” said Kirk.
Kirk said that due to the large size of the class, which is being held at an off-campus site leased by Lakes Entertainment, one group meets in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Although the specific card games to be played at Rocky Gap have not been released, Lakes Entertainment verified that the casino will have a wide variety of card games.
“We helped them meet the Maryland state gaming and licensing requirements,” said Kirk.
Lakes Entertainment has expressed interest in partnering with ACM on additional training programs in the future, Kirk said.
Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim was excited about the progress with the resort that is set to open this spring.
“It creates jobs for local people and it will have the possibility of bringing people into our area,” said Grim. “It fits well into our plan for population growth.”
Lakes Entertainment is expected to hire 250 full- and part-time people to staff operations at the casino.
“There are 70 some different job descriptions that will be open there,” said Kirk.
Lakes Entertainment held a question-and-answer session for students at ACM on Friday and took applications. The Times-News spoke to some applicants but decided to use their first names only to protect their identity.
Tiffanie, 21, of Cumberland, said, “I’m working on phones now. Most of the work at Rocky Gap is face-to-face. I prefer that. I hope to get long-term employment.”
Tina, a nontraditional student, said, “I hope to work in an office in accounting. I prefer not to work in the casino. I like to be behind the scene.”
Becky Ruppert, director of professional development and community service for the Center for Continuing Education, has been pleased with Lakes Entertainment.
“They are extremely professional. I think they will be a great company to work for,” said Ruppert.
Rodney, 22, a student who lives in Keyser, W.Va., is hoping to be hired.
“I like working with people. I will take whatever I can. I think it (the casino) will be good for our area,” said Rodney.
Lakes Entertainment will hold a job fair at ACM today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Continuing Education Building.
Greg Larry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.