Jenny Siford carefully reached for the cards on the gaming table before her as she prepared to give out a hand of blackjack to a group of other new card dealers. Siford, who is from Berkeley County, is one of the nearly four hundred new casino employees who have been hired by Charles Town Races and Slots to run the casino table games.
Siford said that learning blackjack is very exciting and they are looking forward to completing her blackjack training at the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. Siford said that it is her first time working as a casino dealer and that until now; her whole life had been spent inside the office. Siford, like other individuals, were affected by the financial crisis that has wreaked havoc in the region.
She was laid off from her previous work and was very happy when a proposal to add casino table games in Jefferson County was place before voters. While Siford herself was not able to cast a vote on the issue, she viewed the games as a possible career option. For a lot of individuals, the new jobs from the casino table games have come at a right time. Robert Contee, another resident of Berkeley County said that they had been discussing the issue for several years now.
Contee was approved to become a blackjack dealer at one of the local racinos. Al Britton, the general manager of Charles Town Races and Slots, said on May 9th, 2010, that nearly four hundred individuals were chosen to work not only as casino table games dealers but as boxmen and stickmen at the craps tables and croupiers at the roulette wheels. Of those numbers, 70% are from West Virginia.
Britton said that 170 of the new casino employees are from Jefferson County. Blackjack and the other casino table games are expected to begin on July 1st, 2010 and are anticipated to produce salaries of forty thousand dollars annually for the dealers who will run them. The chance of earning a salary of that amount without commuting outside of their area was enough to convince Jawaan Holmes, a Fairmont State University graduate, to apply for one of the available positions.
Holmes said that he has a degree in marketing and had interned in Washington, D.C., where he was offered a new job. But he said that between long working hours and the long commute to his home, he had little time to spend with his 3 year-old daughter.
Sunday, July 25 , 2010