UPDATED 04/08/11 11:27 a.m.
ROSEMONT, Ill. (CBS) – With unemployment still high, an influx of jobs at a new casino in Des Plaines is welcome news to many.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the Rivers Casino will open in July at the northwest corner of River Road and Devon Avenue. In advance of that date, the casino is seeking to fill roughly 1,000 positions, from managers to restaurant personnel.
The casino is holding a job fair at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont Friday, and they are expecting anywhere from 7,000 to 12,000 people to attend. The doors opened at 9 a.m., and everyone to whom CBS 2 spoke said finding a job has been extremely difficult.
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Hundreds of job seekers stood in line more than two hours early, all vying for one of the open positions.
The $445 million facility will be the largest land-based casino in the state when the lights and slot machines turn on. It will house 1,200 gambling positions and several restaurants and bars – including an outpost of the Rush Street favorite, Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House.
But the jobs are the attraction right now.
“Since I’ve been unemployed, I’ve been looking everywhere,” said David Hayashi of Chicago, “and once they said openings, I went, ‘All right, I’m going to go.”
Antionette Lee came here from Harvey to meet and greet with department heads and learn more about getting hired as a cage cashier.
“I’ve got to go get my game face, because I’ve got to get prepared to get the job,” she said.
Harvey not only wants to hand winning gamblers cash in exchange for their chips, but she wants to make some cash for herself.
She said she has been unemployed for about a year and a half to two years, and she describes her situation as “difficult.”
Walton Westlake also has been unemployed for some time, and says he says he is “looking to get anything.”
Lately, he has been “doing whatever (I) can to scrape money together.”
Casino vice president of of human resources, Merrick Dresnin said this new casino will be a win-win situation for the casino and for the state overall.
“This is huge, this is huge, and at this time in this market, for us to be able, in essence, to give back, we’re proud of that,” he said.
Résumés are not accepted at the job fair. Applications are only accepted online.
The job fair ends at 4 p.m.