Hundreds turn out for casino job fair - Tuesday 27th of May 2008

Chris Curry will soon have a new job as a slot-machine attendant.

Ashley Mehrer was hired as a players’ club representative.

They were two among hundreds who showed up Saturday for Downstream Casino Resort’s job fair at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

Sean Harrison, casino spokesman, said more than 800 people applied for jobs on Saturday and around 175 were hired at the event.

Curry, of Miami, Okla., said he had worked as a cashier at two other casinos, but he wanted a job where he could interact with people. He said his previous experience worked in his favor during the interview.

Mehrer, of Joplin, said she graduated last May from MSSU. She said the player’s club representative position involves marketing and public relations.

“I’m looking for something a little more fast-paced and exciting,” she said. She said the pay and benefits offered by Downstream were good.

She said the application, interview and hiring took about an hour and 45 minutes. Mehrer said she’s originally from Kansas City, Mo., and is familiar with the casinos there.

“It’s always about people enjoying themselves and having a good time,” she said.

The $301 million Downstream Casino Resort is being built by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma just off Interstate 44, where Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas intersect. Plans call for the casino to open on July 5, with the hotel scheduled to open in the fall.

Others in line at the job fair were waiting to be interviewed.

Tina Yates, of Alba, Mo., said she was looking for a job in management, as a shift leader, or serving.

“I love working with the public,” she said.

She said working at a casino also was appealing.

“It’s uplifting,” she said. “I hear it’s fun. I hear the money’s really good and there are good benefits.”

Leroy Malone, of Bluejacket, Okla., was applying for a maintenance job. The factory where he had worked for 16 years had closed, and he said he has been advancing his education for the past year.

“I thought I’d come to check on it,” Malone said.

Blake Silvers, of Carthage, is set to graduate next Saturday from MSSU with a business degree, and was hoping a job at Downstream would be his first job after graduation. He said some friends told him about the job fair.

“I’m looking for a job in the business area,” Silvers said.

Harrison said those hired on Saturday probably will start training and orientation around June 20 in advance of the casino’s July 5 opening.

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