State Offers Help to Casino Workers|Who Lost Jobs in Violent Tribal Dispute


     FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – Workers who lost their jobs when Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino was shut down last October due to an armed takeover will be beneficiaries of a $500,000 grant from the California Employment Development Department.
     The EDD is providing the Madera County Workforce Investment Board with the grant to assist workers who were laid off after the casino was forced to shut down due to violence by one of three feuding tribal factions.
     One of the factions executed a takeover of the casino in Coarsegold – 40 miles northeast of Fresno – using firearms and Tasers on Oct. 9, 2014.
     The casino was shut down by order of the California Attorney General’s Office and the National Indian Gaming Commission, causing enormous losses in profits.
     More than 15 people were arrested after the takeover and are awaiting trial.
     A federal judge issued a restraining order prohibiting weapons of any nature within 1,000 yards of the casino or on tribal properties. The judge ordered the casino to remain closed until the National Indian Gaming Commission orders it to be reopened, which has yet to happen.
     “The sudden closure of this important local business severely impacted more than 1,000 people who are suddenly without work, and many others whose jobs were dependent on the casino,” said EDD Director Patrick W. Henning, Jr.
     Approximately 600 of the workers who lost their jobs are residents of Madera County.
     The $500,000 grant will “provide needed employment resources, such as retraining, resume-writing classes, interview preparation, and job search services that will help them secure new jobs as quickly as possible,” Henning said.
     The grant will help the laid-off workers seek new employment in some of the region’s top industry sectors, including transportation and logistics, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, renewable energy, hospitality and health care.
     Funding for the program is drawn from the governor’s 25 percent portion of Dislocated Worker Funds from Title I of the federal Workforce Investment Act, and is under the administrative authority of the California and Workforce Development Agency’s EDD.

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