The Mountain Shadows Shopping Center has not exactly been a hub of activity ever since Pacific Market left.
But on Monday, the commercial strip was busy as the first wave of Graton Rancheria casino job applicants filed in for interviews.
Recruiters received more than 3,000 applications over the past week, and that’s just for the first 200 positions.
The casino is estimated to offer a total of 2,000 jobs when it opens by the end of this year.
“The tribe has worked long and hard for the better part of a decade to bring this to where it is today,” said Joe Hasson, vice president of Station Casinos, which is managing the Graton Rancheria Casino & Resort. “We’re going to extend 2,000 jobs to people, and in a tough economy, and I think people will appreciate the opportunity to work, and in good jobs where they can actually build a career.”
The majority of the casino jobs will be full-time, with some part-time work available. Station Casinos has sometimes been criticized for quelling employee efforts to unionize, something Hasson dismissed as illegal.
“There’s no such thing as ‘Not allowed to have a union’ and our workforce here is welcome to consider what a union has to offer,” he said. “The (Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria) tribe has a longstanding reputation and relationship with Unite Here.”
Jobs include games dealers, security personnel, servers and bartenders, as well as in human resources, accounting and IT, among others. Priority in hiring will be given to members of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and Rohnert Park residents.
“Our wages will be competitive, they’ll be some of the some of the highest in the hospitality industry in the Northern California,” Hasson said. “A full-time dealer will earn a terrific living, $35,000 to $40,000 (tips notwithstanding) a year, perhaps even more.”
Asked about the casino’s security plan, Hasson said he was not at liberty to discuss details, but stressed that security and surveillance would comprise a “substantial” part of the jobs offered.
Among the 100-plus applicants interviewed Monday was 35-year-old Santa Rosa resident Mike Jackson.
Jackson, a single father of a teen daughter, said he has been without full-time work for about a year after being laid off from the Toyota dealership where he had worked for more than 10 years.
“I had another job as a medical courier, but I was laid off from that in 2010,” Jackson said, adding that he had to move in with his mother in order to make ends meet. “It’s been trying times for sure.”
Nearby, 24-year-old Raymond Hernandez, a Rohnert Park resident who now works as a stocker at a local store, was hoping to score a promotions jobs at the new casino.
“I definitely think it’s going to help the community,” he said.
To find out more careers at the Graton Rancheria Casino & Resort, visit Gratonresortcasino.com