While there were plenty of concerns raised by the residents and businesses in the Northside about the location of a casino in their midst, the Rivers Casino has also provided a growing source of employment when many other businesses in our region are struggling. 

Currently, the casino employs 1,679 people and is projecting that the number will increase to approximately 1,800 by the end of the year. There have also been over 350 internal promotions and transfers to date, providing plenty of opportunity for employees to better themselves and move up within the operation. Recruitment outreach efforts continue to be varied and include table games schools and job fairs that are free and open to the public.

Not every community is as lucky, and there are plenty of PA residents in the Northside and beyond who are desperate to get back to work or who are in fear of losing the job they have my colleagues and I have real ideas to create jobs, stabilize the economy and instill confidence in those who do the hiring. We are coming up with answers, and we have been proposing solutions for the last year now. What’s important to us is what’s important to our districts. Families need to feel secure, small businesses need to flourish, students need skills to be marketable, and young women and minorities need to not lose hope. They’ve waited too long for answers.

Quite simply – the top priority of this fall’s legislative session must be job creation. The unemployment rate is now 8.2 percent and more than a half million Pennsylvanians are out of work. Last month, the unemployment rate spiked nearly one-half percent. There is a tremendous amount of economic uncertainty undermining our economic recovery. We should clear the agenda and only act on those items that can create jobs. As I’ve said many times before, each and every item before us should be looked at through the “job lens.”

While we work to move a jobs agenda forward, I have been using my weekly News & Views (e-newsletter) to provide information to constituents on job opportunities, training and other resources that can help you in your job search. If you are not already subscribed, visit my website at www.senatorfontana.com and add your email address in the “Subscribe to E-News” box. You can also visit my Media Center page and view past editions of the newsletter to see what you’ve missed. Don’t have access to a computer or email? Please contact my office and we can get a hard copy of the materials to you.

I am committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that creating and retaining good-paying jobs is part of any discussion that we have at the state level and pledge to work with my colleagues to accomplish that this fall in Harrisburg.