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Friday, August 19, 2022


With a new opening date of early September set for the Casino Training School, the Department of Tourism is gearing up to prepare registered students.
Orientation at the St. Croix Educational Complex starts today, Wednesday, at 2 p.m. for residents who have registered for the Casino Career Program. Only residents already enrolled in the program will have the opportunity to attend the free training seminars.
Michael Bornn and Sonia Jacobs Dow, commissioners delegate of Tourism and the Department of Labor, made the announcement in a joint statement Tuesday afternoon.
The focus of the seminars, administered by Labor staff, will be on problem-solving techniques, grievance response procedures, "service vs. servitude," and quality customer service.
"We’re very happy to be able to offer these courses," Bornn said. "The public response has been great. In the near future we will be announcing the starting date of the Casino Career Program."
After the V.I. Casino Control Commission renewed the Department of Tourism’s license for the Casino Training School for two years on July 16, it was announced that the school would open on Aug. 2 in the Frederiksted Mall. The school failed to open, with Tourism officials blaming the delay on construction conflicts.
The opening of the school is crucial because the territory’s first casino is slated to open in December at the renovated Divi Carina Bay Resort on St. Croix’s southeast shore. The V.I. Casino Control Act mandates that 80 percent of casino employees must be Virgin Islands residents.
Before his term ended on July 16, Casino Commissioner Dennis Brow said that as of July 7, 82 residents had completed employment registration forms for work at the new casino. More people registered and paid for casino training in 1997 and 1998, but that training never took place.
The casino, to be operated by Mississippi-based Treasure Bay Corp., is expected to employ about 150 people, about 70 percent of them locals. That percentage is expected to increase as more residents are trained to work in the industry.
Hampering the opening of the school is the fact that instructors and resident directors must be investigated and then licensed by the Casino Commission. That poses a problem in itself, because the commission currently has only two members, Chairwoman Eileen Petersen and Imelda Dizon, too few to make decisions.
However, Petersen has said she and Dizon will issue temporary licenses to prospective instructors who pass background checks until a third member is added to the commission and a full vote can be taken.
Gov. Charles Turnbull has put Lloyd McAlpin’s name forward as a potential casino commissioner. The V.I. Attorney General’s office must conduct a background check on McAlpin before the governor decides whether to forward the nomination on to the Senate for approval. No timeline has been given for the process.
The September seminars will be conducted in two, two-hour sessions per day for a total of 12 sessions.

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