Atlantic City Career Center Facing Blitz of Ex-Casino Workers

A career center set up to help laid-off Atlantic City casino workers has been lagging behind in its efforts to help the thousands of workers laid off in the resort last year according to officials who cite long lines and filled retraining programs.

With more than 8,000 casino workers laid off in Atlantic City last year, a state employment center set up to help has been buckling under the pressure.

Workers complain of long lines and lengthy processes for job retraining at Atlantic County’s One Stop Career Center.

State Assemblyman Chris Brown called the lack of proper staffing at the center “unacceptable.”

“We have suffered the most job losses in one year in state history, putting Atlantic County’s unemployment rate at nearly twice the state average,” Brown, R-Atlantic told the Press of Atlantic City. “We need help.”

Brown told the paper that people have come to his office complaining they couldn’t get appointments at the center and were being told to go to similar facilities in Cumberland, Camden and Burlington counties.

Brian Murray, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, however, told the Press, that the center is not turning away workers or directing them to other counties.

The department is using a $29.4 million federal National Emergency Grant received in January to assist workers laid off due to the casino closings, Murray said. The department sent letters to unemployed casino workers covered by the grant directing them to Atlantic Cape Community College, where state staff could assist them.

Murray said a press release distributed Wednesday by Brown was “factually incorrect.”

“There is some serious confusion,” he told the Press.