By Jeanne Sager
LOCH SHELDRAKE April 23, 2004 Rose Slater wants a better life.
The single mom needs to take care of 3-year-old Iyana.
To do that, she says, she needs a better job.
Thats what brought the Monticello resident to Sullivan County Community College Wednesday morning.
Shes not a student, but she heard there was going to be a job fair in the cafeteria lobby.
Two hundred jobs are up for grabs and theyre all right in Monticello, at Mighty M Gaming at Monticello Raceway.
The first official gambling venue to come to Sullivan County since the Raceway itself began 50 years ago is set to open on June 30. And theyre going to need a lot of help getting those doors open.
The racino is bringing 400 jobs to Sullivan County 200 of which were filled before Wednesdays fair at the college.
According to Vice President of Operations Cliff Ehrlich, that includes everything from trained accountants with finance degrees who will rake in good salaries to entry-level jobs greeting buses.
There are jobs in housekeeping, in the bar and landscaping.
Mighty M needs people to help with surveillance, to manage the cage and to cook.
Steve Seltzer was happy with the quality of applicants he saw at his food and beverage table.
A lot of them have great personalities for the business, he said. I dont know how many have experience with this type of business.
Working in a casino is nothing like working in any local hotel, he said.
Seltzer spent a lot of time in Atlantic City he should know.
But with the trained staff thats been brought in from other gaming places, the newbies will be put through their paces.
I think were going to do a good job of training, Seltzer said. Thats our job.
The first round of managers chosen from local applicants will start work in early June, and other staff will be brought in as the month progresses to give them some time to learn the ropes before the racino opens its doors.
Theres a lot to learn, Seltzer said, from the expectations of the owners to the basics of the business.
But Seltzer is optimistic.
I think the people Ive chosen are going to do fantastic, he said.
Those people will all have to undergo some hefty background checks racino employees are licensed by the New York State lottery.
That makes finding good, qualified applicants even more important.
Erlich said SCCC was an obvious location for one of the Mighty Ms many job fairs.
We have a great working relationship with the college, and weve got a lot of jobs to offer the Sullivan County grads, he said.
The folks pouring over the applications in the lobby werent just graduates, however.
Many, like Slater, made the trip to the college because they are hoping the racino can offer them a better life.
Dori Hankins of Port Jervis is willing to make a half hour trip to work every morning just to ensure she has a good job.
Shes worked in the local grocery business for 32 years, but with Price Chopper and the super Wal-Marts moving in, she doesnt know if her job will be around much longer.
Ive worked 32 years at one place its time for a change, she said.
She went to one of the Mighty Ms job fairs at the Best Western in Matamoras, Pa. She made the trip to the college for a follow-up interview.
Shes willing to do whatever it takes just so she has a job to go to on Monday mornings.