ATLANTIC CITY — A new Stockton University program has helped students develop real world jobs skills while providing local businesses with workers during a labor crunch.
The program titled Live, Work, Learn allows students the chance to apply for a variety of positions at AtlantiCare, Bally’s Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Tropicana Atlantic City, the Claridge Hotel, FantaSea Resorts, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, Ocean Casino Resort, Resorts Casino Hotel and Steel Pier.
Nashia Ara, a sophomore biology major from Ventnor, saw AtlantiCare on the list and thought working there would be a great way to get started in the medical field.
“I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door,” Ara said Wednesday during a media event highlighting the program. “AtlantiCare has been very accommodating so far with training, and they covered my CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) and BLS (Basic Life Support) certifications. I want to be a doctor, so it’s been a great experience so far getting to work around doctors and nurses.”
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The program allows students to live on the school’s city campus on the Boardwalk for free during the summer. They work for one of the premiere resort businesses, earn wages and gain job experience. Also students take a four-credit course on workforce readiness, including mentoring sessions.
About 700 students applied for positions once the program was announced in February. Of those 700, 145 were hired for positions ranging from front desk agents to gaming dealers.
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Brian Jackson, Stockton’s chief operating officer of the Atlantic City campus, and Provost Leamor Kahanov developed the program to give students an opportunity to connect with area employers.
“This is something that we wanted to see happen since the A.C. Campus opened,” Jackson said. “We want to get students more connected to local businesses and show them the opportunities that exist in the hospitality industry.”
The program has also given a boost to the businesses involved.
“It’s benefited us in many ways; primarily we are in a labor crunch,” said Bob Ellis, vice president of human resources at Hard Rock. “So it’s wonderful to be able to tap into a resource of Stockton, cover students’ housing and give them an opportunity to work here seasonally. Everybody that we can tap from an employment standpoint is benefiting this business.”
Jackson said they hope to expand the program and keep adding businesses.
Michael Mora, a sophomore social work major from Mount Olive, Morris County, works at Borgata as a food and beverage supervisor.
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“When I first heard about this program, I thought it was really cool,” Mora said. “I had a summer class already and I was worried about going home and getting out of the environment of school. But then I saw the opportunity to take another class, live in A.C. and then have a really cool job on top of that.”
For Destiny Craig, a junior who works at Bally’s, the opportunity allowed her to stay in New Jersey instead of moving back home for the summer.
“Initially with this program, I was interested in the free housing because I’m from Georgia. Then I was looking into it more, and I saw all of the positions could help me work on things about myself a little more,” Craig said. “Being around some of the customers has allowed me to get better at not letting my emotions get the best of me. So this program has been a big benefit to me personally.”
Oliver Bruno, a sophomore from Egg Harbor Township, chose the program to get the college experience.
“I was very interested in the program because I’ve only ever lived in my parents’ home,” said Bruno, an engineering major. “This is my first time living on my own and having to do my own grocery shopping and things like that. So it’s been beneficial from that side of things.”
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