Pennsylvania’s legalization of table gaming will bring 300 to 350 new jobs to the Rivers Casino on the North Shore. (Photo/Kelly Thomas)

Rivers Casino announced yesterday that they are now accepting applications to fill 300 to 350 new table game positions that will start this summer.

Officials said about 100 positions are designated for floor managers or supervisors, jobs which require prior experience in a licensed gaming facility. Around 250 dealer positions will be available to those without prior gaming experience.

While those with six months of dealing experience within the last five years will be given preference, Rivers is offering inexperienced applicants a “dealer school,” which will require 20 hours per week and last from four to 10 weeks. Applicants will not be paid to attend the dealer school and will have to apply for a specific table games position after finishing the classes.

“Different types of games require different lengths of training,” said Spokesman Jack Horner. “We’re already getting a ton of applications, so get them in soon,”

The casino is only accepting online applications at www.riverscasinoteam.com.

Horner said dealers gross between $30,000 to $40,000 annually when tips are included, a slight downgrade from what other papers are reporting.

Through a deal signed between the Northside Leadership Conference and the Casino, Northsiders who list the Conference, or other community groups such as the North Shore Community Alliance, on their applications will receive a special preference during the hiring process.

“Everything being equal, that person [from the Northside] will get the position, if you have the right skill set and experience.” said George Matta, director of business development and community relations.

Before opening in August 2009, the casino interviewed a little less than half of the 800 names submitted from community groups for prospective positions. Out of those 340 interviewed Northsiders, the casino hired 87 out of a total workforce of 1,000 — close to 9 percent.

In about six months, 22 Northsiders have been fired or left on their own. The 65 that remain make up a little over 6 percent of the current workforce.

“Casinos typically have 25 to 35 percent turnover annually, so hiring is continuous,” said Conference Executive Director Mark Fatla in a statement. “It is important to take the long view on casino hiring.

“At this point we need more information to know how the Casino is doing in hiring residents of low-income communities and residents of the Northside. We have requested that information from Rivers but have not yet received it.”

One of those 22 Northsiders who no longer work for the casino is Sharilyn Daugherty. According to Daugherty, who had an administration position, “several of the Northside Leadership applicants were only interviewed as a part of the ‘agreement’ and were never actually considered for the position.”

Daugherty also claims she “witnessed first hand” that a clerk position in the food and beverage division was given to a friend of management.

“The woman that [was] sent from the Northside Leadership Conference [was] far more qualified for this position [than] the clerk that was hired,” Daugherty said in an email.

Matta said he could not comment on any individual previous hires because of privacy restrictions. The Northside Chronicle could not confirm Daugherty’s claims.

“But regardless of their numbers,” Fatla said, “we will not be satisfied until every Northsider who wants a job and is willing to make themselves a viable candidate for a job, gets a job. That’s our goal every day.”