Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff said Thursday that it will create about 800 new jobs in the next few weeks as it prepares to open in early October.
"The heart and soul of the resort property will be its team members, about 1,200 in all," said John Berrey, the outgoing chairman of the Quapaw Nation. "Of the entire development process — years of planning, building, the hard work, numerous challenges and all the excitement — these 1,200 jobs and the lives they impact are what mean the most to me. It really tugs at my heart.
"These are good jobs with good pay and benefits. Also they are the kinds of jobs that make you feel good about what you’re doing by treating every customer like a VIP," he added.
Another 70 to 90 people will be hired when the hotel opens next year, according to acting Human Resources Director Brad Stone.
The casino said it already employs about 300 people at its Saracen Annex and Q-Store, which opened in October on the east side of Pine Bluff just off of U.S. Highway 65-B, across from the Pines Mall. It also another 50 supervisor- and manager-level employees joined various departments and training programs ahead of the opening.
Most of the new hires will receive pre-opening paid training for one or two weeks, and some will be trained for 30 days.
Hiring during a pandemic is a challenge, Stone said.
"It's an added set of problems to solve, because we are committed to a strict set of COVID-19 safety protocols — social distancing, masks, sanitation, temperature checks, and so on. Meanwhile, we need to conduct hundreds of job interviews and, soon, start the training programs," Stone said. "Thankfully, we are on pace, and there are plenty of quality applicants to work with."
Stone said the casino is hiring for blackjack dealers, slot machine attendants, security, accounting, cashiers, surveillance specialists, custodians, electricians, mechanical engineers, groundskeepers, parking attendants, information technology professionals and marketing professionals.
Half the new hires will work for the food and beverage department, which oversees six restaurants and three bars.