By David Madden

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — A resource center has opened in Atlantic City, NJ to assist the thousands of people laid off by this weekend’s shutdown of the Revel and Showboat casinos.

From filing for unemployment benefits, to extending health care coverage, to just venting, the help is being offered to anyone who lost a job. In addition, there will be a job fair here next week.

It’s the uncertainty that affects people like Ronnie Downing, who was a steward at Revel.

“We all are in this together,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “This is going to have a dramatic effect on South Jersey, and we all need to do what we can to cushion the blow.”

By this Friday they expect 5,000 people to file for unemployment claims and extended health care benefits. “Unite Here” local 54 president Bob McDevitt says he wants to look ahead.

“We’re not here to declare the death of the city,” he said today.  “We’re here to begin the renewal of Atlantic City.  And it starts with taking care of our own.”


(Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54.  Photo by David Madden)

(Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of Unite Here. Photo by David Madden)


With a third of the resort town’s casino industry shutting down in less than a year, it’s hard for residents and politicians to be patient for non-gambling ventures to grow.

Everyone insists that helping these displaced workers — and those soon to go at Trump Plaza — are the top priority. But even the most optimistic people know there aren’t enough jobs around here for all of them.

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