Gambling on our future? Wanted: Thousands of casino workers for low-wage jobs - Saturday 12th of March 2005

Ask for the hot fudge at the Mohegan Sun Casino's sundae bar and the attendant, standing mere inches from the fudge, shrugs uncomprehendingly.

    It's a scene repeated all over the casino, which demonstrates how difficult it is to fill more than 20,000 low-paying service jobs.

    Southeast Connecticut is home to two of the biggest casinos in the world, each employing about 10,000. Both the Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, and Foxwoods, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, recruit employees locally. To fill the gaps, they also advertise in New York City's Chinatown and abroad. As a result, many workers are immigrants and speak little or no English. The majority of immigrant workers are Chinese.

    The influx of non-English speakers has strained area schools, and the crush of workers has created a crisis of affordable housing.

    Some Clark County residents worry that the Cowlitz Tribe's proposed casino resort would cause the same problems. It may not be easy to find thousands of employees, but tribal and employment experts don't foresee the same level of problems because Southwest Washington has a larger population base and

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