BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It may be considered an unlikely partnership, but Maryland’s newest casino is turning to the faith-based community to fill employment vacancies at its venue.

As Tim Williams reports, the effort gives local residents first access to new jobs.

This is not a typical after-service gathering at Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore. The congregants are also applicants seeking employment at a casino.

“When I saw this, I’m like, `Well, I can go to church and worship and take care of looking for a job,'” said applicant Jill Eubanks-Sullivan.

The jobs are being offered by Horseshoe Baltimore. Maryland’s newest casino is under construction near M&T Bank Stadium. But with the $442 million venue scheduled to open this summer, 1,700 total positions need to be filled.

The casino sees churches as a sure bet to find a pool of qualified applicants.

“I have IT experience, I have financial experience. I just want to see what they have and see if it’ll work out with what I want,” said Rodney Hughes.

“We want to make sure that all 1,700 jobs go to the residents of Baltimore City. And in doing so, we’re making sure we go across the city, into the backyards of Baltimoreans to give them access to our jobs,” said Horseshoe Baltimore VP of Human Resources Joan Wilmer-Stewart.

Through late April, Horseshoe Baltimore will host a total of 14 one-day job recruitment centers in neighborhoods scattered around the city.

And while the faith-based community may seem an unlikely resource for a gaming industry job fair, Union’s pastor says it’s in line with the church’s role.

“I can understand the criticism but I do also know the need,” said Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr. “We need to do everything to make certain that people have opportunities for jobs and I believe the church has to be the vanguard.”

The next job fair is Tuesday at the Hotel Monaco from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and it is geared toward veterans.

The deadline to apply online for Dealer Academy is March 3. For a link to future workshops and career opportunities, click here.

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