According to its website, Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) is partnering with Gun Lake Casino this fall to offer a Blackjack Dealer Academy – the first such partnership in the state. 

Gun Lake Casino representatives reached out to GRCC Workforce Training for help bringing a program to the Grand Rapids area that teaches participants how to be a blackjack dealer. GRCC is the first public community college in Michigan to partner with a tribal casino on this type of academy.

“It is a natural fit for us to partner with Grand Rapids Community College,” said Jose Flores, vice president and general manager at Gun Lake Casino. “We have many GRCC alumni who are key contributors at Gun Lake Casino within our hospitality and security departments."

Students who successfully complete the training will receive Blackjack Dealer Academy certification and will be interviewed by the casino for jobs.

“Being relevant and responsive to our community means partnering with employers to create specialized training programs leading to jobs and keeping our region’s economy strong,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We strive to be the place people look to for help, whether that’s the resident looking to gain new skills or the employer looking to fill openings. It’s a role we embrace.”

Prospective students must be 21 and have a high school diploma or an equivalent. The casino is funding most of the training, so the class costs only $25 for students. The job openings are mainly for second- and third-shift hours. Wages vary, but the average is $18 to $22 per hour, including tips. In many cases, food and transportation are offered.

GRCC will host the first set of classes, which will be taught by a casino instructor, in October at the Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW.

“We work closely with employers across the region to train people for in-demand jobs, filling local needs,” said Julie Parks, executive director of GRCC Workforce Training. “This is our first opportunity to train people for careers in the gaming industry, and we are looking forward to growing this new partnership.”

GRCC, in collaboration with community organizations and West Michigan Works!, have already hosted a session for community partners informing them about this opportunity. The first public information session is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Tassell M-TEC. To register, or to learn more, visit the webpage or contact Tassell M-TEC at (616) 234-3800.


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