As plans of the casino just over the Mystic River in Everett continue to be haggled about in Charlestown and Boston, one of the more underreported aspects of the casino are the thousands of permanent jobs that the project would bring to residents of Charlestown – and that was on display July 11.
Traffic has often take a front seat to the promise of steady, good-paying jobs.
While the large casino tower is a beacon of controversy for some in the neighborhood, Saturday afternoon’s job fair at Bunker Hill Community College was evidence that the casino project is a beacon of promise to many young people in the neighborhood looking for employment in any number of careers.
“I graduate in 2016, so they’ll start hiring right when I graduate,” said Kiersten Kelly, a Charlestown resident who will be a senior at Westfield State this fall. “They offer so many different job opportunities. It’s something you just can’t pass up on. They said there are something like 1,100 job positions to choose from and those fall in all different majors. My friends and I all came here and we have all different majors and this is a place all of us could work full-time in careers that fit our majors when we graduate. It doesn’t hurt that it’s so close to Charlestown, which is where we all live.”
Kelly came with her two siblings, Kacie and Philip – all of whom are in college or headed to college.
Additionally, her friends Allison McIntosh and Kelli Smith, also Charlestown residents, came to see about careers at the nearby casino property.
McIntosh said she has a few years to go at Anna Maria College, but hopes to be able to rely on the casino for a part-time job, a position that she hopes could parlay into full-time upon graduation.
“I’ll still be in school when they begin hiring, but I’m looking at a part-time job – maybe food and beverage,” she said. “It’s such a great opportunity to be able to take advantage of when I come home from school. When I graduate, I can maybe use my part-time employment there to go full-time into a management position or some other career.”
The five Charlestown young people were a small part of about 200 people who attended Wynn Everett’s first career fair last Saturday, July 11, at Bunker Hill Community College’s Auditorium. The casino company flew in several professionals from Las Vegas, including casino workers, food and beverage workers, administrative workers, and even local professionals already on the Wynn team – such as Charlestown’s Al Carrier. While Wynn has held job fairs before, Saturday’s effort – which had a companion fair in Everett that same morning – was the first in which Wynn employees talked about the multitude of careers open to Charlestown residents. Previous fairs concentrated more on the construction end of things or on trade union training programs.
Others in the crowd were not so much young people looking for employment, but rather adults in mid-career who thought the casino might offer a great opportunity to change careers.
“I’m hoping to deal at the casino,” said Jimmy Hayes of Charlestown, who now works at a bank. “I’ve always dreamed about being a casino dealer. It’s a hobby and a dream of mine and I’d like to change things up a bit.”
Others were coming from out of town – specifically from other casinos.
Employees from Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and Twin Rivers – and even Philadelphia – showed up at the Charlestown fair to see about transferring their skills to the Wynn casino.
“I saw what it looked like and could be potentially,” said Alexandria Alcide, a poker dealer at Mohegan Sun. “I like the whole plan and it’s a great opportunity at Wynn. I’m keeping all options open.” Roman Palo Maria, who recently left Mohegan Sun as a Blackjack dealer, said Wynn has a great reputation amongst casino workers and he’d like to work for them.
“I’ve been all over in the casino industry,” he said. “I’ve stayed at Wynn Encore and the Las Vegas properties. They’re very respectable and very highly regarded in the industry. We’re hoping that gets us in – the casino experience we have already. It’s not like any other business. I like the entire plan they have, with the building on the water and the Harborwalk. It could really be something great.”
Wynn Everett President, Bob DeSalvio, said he was pleased with the turnout.
“It was impressive to see so many people take time on a beautiful Saturday in July and show genuine interest and enthusiasm for the 4,000 jobs that Wynn will be creating in Everett,” said DeSalvio. “The excitement that everyone showed for our resort and the talent of people that we spoke with was amazing. Several people who currently work at casinos in Connecticut and Philadelphia drove all the way to Massachusetts to attend this event, which is a testament to Wynn’s reputation as being one of the most desirable workplaces in the industry.”
DeSalvio said they already have seven people on staff at their Wellington Station office, and have just advertised five new positions to be filled in that office.
“We’re going from seven to 12 and somewhere around 4,000 jobs ultimately,” he added.
State Rep. Dan Ryan gave opening comments and stayed around to learn from employees at the event about the Wynn culture.
“Doing a Google Map search, th
ere is no state official that will live as close to a casino as I will,” said Ryan. “I will be able to look out my window and see the jobs and opportunities that are over there. Despite what the Boston Herald might say about the pay for state officials, I know about hospitality, and that’s because I’m going to my second job right after this at the Warren Tavern. There are a wealth of opportunities here in Greater Boston. I can’t say enough about how this group has reached out.”
Wynn officials estimated that around 500 people came to both career fairs on Saturday, July 11.