By Pilar Pedraza
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:22 PM CDT, September 19, 2012
"All you hear on the news now is how many people are out of work. This is an opportunity. We're hiring," says Mike Dickson with the Kansas Star Casino.
But even employers who are hiring are having trouble finding enough workers here in Central Kansas. It's a trend that human resource departments and employment agencies across the state are noticing. The problem? A mismatch of skills.
"We do have a lot of positions open right now," said Kimberly Cronister of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas. And that's good news where it's their job to help people find jobs. Yet many positions are remaining unfilled, even though there are still more job seekers than jobs right now. "Employers are looking for workers now who can hit the ground running. They don't necessarily have time to hire somebody and then spend months training them."
Many of those skills can be learned with a minimum amount of training, things like customer service and communication, often offered at the Workforce Alliance. But some jobs need a bit more.
In response to the need for highly skilled, specially trained workers, at the Kansas Star Casino they're providing the training for free. In preparation for opening the next section of the new casino, operators have re-opened their Dealers School. But they still have several open slots.
"Giving up two months, without a pay check," Dickson explains about the commitment required. "But a lot of people don't have two months that they can give up of their lives."
Even with the promise of employment if they successfully complete the training, the casino can't fill all the available positions.
"Our intent is that all the graduating employees here, pending them passing a gaming application with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, we would offer them a job," assured Dickson.
The jobs Kansas Star is offering are full-time and include benefits. A good deal according to Dickson.
"I started out as a dealer and I've been in this business for... a long time," he laughs.
That's a big win as far as the Workforce Alliance is concerned.
"We also have hundreds and hundreds of individuals who come through the doors everyday looking for jobs," said Cronister.
In addition to the dealers positions, the Kansas Star Casino is also looking for several hundred workers for its hotel and restaurant sections. It will be holding a job fair at the casino on Monday, from ten to two o'clock.
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