TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey is providing more financial support to the soon-to-open Revel mega-casino, announcing Thursday it is giving the casino a $2.6 million to help train new workers.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announced a Labor Department grant for the casino. It's the largest "customized training" grant the Christie administration has ever handed out.
During a ceremony at the not-quite-finished casino in Atlantic City, Guadagno said the project has already created more than 2,600 construction jobs and "brings a new promise of prosperity to this area." Revel is due to open in May with 5,000 jobs.
Atlantic Cape Community College will handle the training of prospective employees. Applicants will learn leadership and communication skills, and get instruction regarding specific jobs at the resort.
The main casino workers' union blasted the grant, which came days after Revel revealed it is limiting the jobs of dealers, bartenders, cocktail servers and others to as few as four years. After that they'll have to re-apply for their jobs.
Revel says the term limits are essential in order to ensure that its work force always presents the best possible face to its customers. It says these workers will be encouraged to apply for promotions to other jobs within the casino during their initial employment. If at the end of four to six years, they have not advanced, they will have to re-apply and be judged against all comers.
Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union, has opposed state subsidies for Revel over the past few years. Gov. Chris Christie has committed $261 million in state tax credits to help Revel once it's open. That funding was key to helping Revel resume construction in February after running out of money and halting most work.
"I can't believe the audacity of this company," said McDevitt, president of the 14,000-member union. "After New Jersey bailed it out, Revel rewards the state by creating 'term-limited' jobs, then they ask for more money for job training. This is unbelievable. When are the politicians going to stand up for the people?"
The 47-story mega-casino is under construction on a 20-acre parcel just north of the Showboat Casino Hotel. It is due to open May 15, although that schedule may be moved up if work continues at its current pace.
Revel will be Atlantic City's 13th casino.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC