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Mohegan Sun hosting two-day hiring event, offering $2,000 bonuses for culinary jobs

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Mohegan — If you want to work, it’s a good bet Mohegan Sun can use you.

The casino, preparing for the May 19 end of COVID-19 restrictions on Connecticut businesses, is offering bonuses of $2,000 for cooks and $500 for housekeepers in a last-ditch drive to plug gaps in its workforce. It announced Wednesday it will interview applicants Thursday and Friday for openings in such areas as food-and-beverage, event support, security, marketing, VIP, events, hotel and retail.

“Employment offers for culinary positions include a $2,000 sign-on bonus,” the casino said in a news release.

The interviewing will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the Cabaret Theatre, located in the Casino of the Sky. Applicants are asked to create an account at mohegansun.com/careers prior to attending the event, but walk-ins will be welcome.

Applicants could be hired on the spot.

Jeff Hamilton, Mohegan Sun’s president and general manager, said Wednesday “we’re a little worried” about the unfilled positions.

“From an applicant-pool standpoint, what we’re hearing is that with the extra unemployment money state and federal governments are paying, it’s lucrative enough for people to stay home, and that could continue until September,” he said. “If you’re going to make the same, a little less or maybe even a little more not working (than working), maybe you want to take the summer off.”

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, adding $300 to weekly unemployment checks, remains in effect in Connecticut through the week ending Sept. 4, 2021.

Hamilton said Mohegan Sun has more than 200 openings to fill, and needs nearly 50 housekeepers for its two hotels and nearly 40 cooks, chefs and other kitchen staff. The casino will pay bonuses to those it hires — $500 to housekeepers and $2,000 to kitchen staff — as well as to any current employee who refers an applicant who's hired for a position that comes with a bonus.

Mohegan Sun currently has 4,800 full-time, part-time and on-call employees, down from 7,500 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Hamilton said.

“If people are unskilled, we’ll provide them with some level of training,” he said. “If you’ve worked at a fast food location ... If you’re willing to work, we’re going to provide you with a position.”

With its hotels nearing capacity, Mohegan Sun Arena about to start hosting Connecticut Sun games and the Earth Expo & Convention Center accommodating such events as an AAU volleyball tournament last weekend, the casino could find it increasingly hard to function unless it’s able to hire more staff.

Hamilton said the casino’s goal is to “slow walk it” after May 19, maintaining current spacing on the gaming floors while gradually increasing the size of the audiences it allows into the arena. Crowd capacities should be back to 100% by August, he said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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