Harrah’s Ak-Chin brings new jobs with expansion

(Source: CasaGrandeDispatch): Bethany Blundell

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino is in the midst of a $180 million expansion that will bring improved entertainment as well as job opportunities to the area.

The expansion is being completed in two phases that will encompass nearly every part of the property.

“We’re building a bigger, better playground,” said Robert Livingston, regional president and general manager. “Just about every square inch of the property will get updated. I can’t think of a single place that won’t get touched.”

Phase one will renovate the north side of property. It will include updating the parking garage as well as adding an indoor pedestrian bridge connecting Harrah’s to UltraStar, pre-function room, new wine bar, new Diamond Lounge and a casino expansion. This phase will also include an expansion to their ballroom.

The new ballroom will be 18,000 square feet with a capacity of 2,000 people. For about eight months, the ballroom will temporarily be the casino. Once the casino equipment is moved, Harrah’s leadership plans to use the ballroom to host large-scale events that have previously not been possible due to space restrictions.

“We could have stayed the same size, but this way we’re positioned well to capture growth,” Livingston said.

Phase one is set to be completed in quarter four of 2017. Phase two will be worked on throughout 2018. This phase will add 230 hotel rooms, bringing the total to 530. The hotel will then have a grand entrance room, a spa and a fitness center, which it did not have before.

There will be a new steakhouse restaurant added in this phase that will have a mesquite wood-burning grill as well as an additional bar. At this bar, Livingston said they are hoping to have a craft beer specifically brewed for their casino. He said they are working with the Rincon Tribe in California, who brew their own beers, and seeing if the transportation logistics are feasible.

In order to accommodate the expansion, Harrah’s Ak-Chin is looking to add about 100 employees to their company. They will host a job fair Aug. 10 at the Maricopa Central Arizona College Campus from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to try to fill those positions. The majority of positions are in the beverage or housekeeping areas, but there are a variety of others.

Beth Amoroso, director of human services, said this is a lot of jobs to add in this area, and they hope it will keep job seekers from having to travel to other counties for work.

 “Certainly we believe it will have a positive economic effect on the community,” she said.

Those who are interested are encouraged to apply online prior to the job fair. When they arrive the day of, they will watch videos about the work environment of Harrah’s Ak-Chin, then they will participate in panel interviews, followed by interviews with department heads.

Amoroso said interviews and job offers will be on-the-spot, so job seekers should bring a positive attitude and show an upbeat personality that is reflective of Harrah’s Ak-Chin culture.

Livingston said Harrah’s Ak-Chin consistently stays in the top five for employee engagement out of all the Caesars Entertainment entities, based off employee surveys. He attributes that to the focus on customer service and giving back to the community.

The company participates in multiple company and community-based philanthropic activities. About 90 percent of Harrah’s Ak-Chin join community service projects. In the past two years, they collectively served more than 200,000 hours.

“We are the friendliest casino on the planet,” he said. “And not only do we have great employees with big hearts, but we follow the passions of those employees.”