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EDD lures 2,000 applicants for Golden Acorn Casino jobs

July 14, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

Bertha Grubbs of Imperial waited patiently in line for her turn at the window.

"I need a job," she said.

So did the 2,000 other people who crowded into the state Employment Development Department's Cesar Chavez Center in El Centro with the hopes of landing jobs at the under-construction Golden Acorn Casino.

The casino on Kumeyaay Indian land off Interstate 8 near Campo is working with the state EDD's local One-Stop Employment Service to fill more than 500 positions, said Diane Stone, corporate vice president with Golden Acorn's parent company, First Nation Gaming.

She said 30-40 percent of those 500 jobs will be filled by Imperial Valley residents.

While no one was hired at Friday's job fair, some "highly qualified applicants" were interviewed and offered positions pending drug tests, she said.

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Hundreds that weren't offered positions will have to wait for Golden Acorn to get in touch with them.

That's right. They'll call you.

Some of those applying thought it would be fun to work in a casino, some just need a job, and others, like Linda Heater of El Centro, were looking for a second job.

Heater, an apartment manager, said she stood in line Friday hoping to land a job as a card dealer.

While she has never dealt cards at a casino before, she said she loves going to Las Vegas.

She was told Golden Acorn will train her to deal if she is hired.

In addition to applying for the dealer job, she hedged her bet by also applying for a cashier position and a job in the payroll department.

Another applicant, 24-year-old Israel Zaragoza of Calexico, heard about the job openings from his aunts.

"They were telling me to get a job and go make some money," he said.

Zaragoza, with experience in carpentry, was hoping to be hired for the Acorn's maintenance crew.

He said he would have no problem getting to work if hired,.

"I got a good car," he said.

Other applicants with less-than-dependable vehicles will have problems getting to work at the mountaintop casino, Stone acknowledged.

To address the unique transportation needs of its employees, the Acorn will work to develop some sort of system that will bring Imperial Valley residents to the mountain and back down. However, Stone said the plan isn't yet rock-solid yet.

The casino is scheduled to open in mid-August.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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