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Rod Smith

Binion's Workers to Still Get Aid

4 February 2004

A national emergency program that has been used to help hundreds of former Binion's Horseshoe employees is ending, but another 400 out-of-work casino workers will still be eligible for help, a Nevada Partners official said.

Now, workers will qualify for largely similar assistance under the state's dislocated workers program, said Nevada Partners Chief Executive Officer Steven Horsford.

Since Binion's was shut down last month, Nevada Partners has helped 500 former Binion's workers under a national emergency grant tied to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The assistance under both programs includes employment preparation and training to help workers find new jobs. It also includes some transportation, housing and utility assistance.

"When the Horseshoe closed, we petitioned the state and asked to have Binion's Horseshoe workers included in the national emergency grant," Horsford said.

The state reviewed and approved the request on the basis that business at Binion's Horseshoe had been hurt by the drop in leisure travel following the terror attacks and had not been able to recover.

Horsford said Nevada Partners offered services after-hours and on weekends to assist as many workers as possible.

The national emergency program, however, ends Saturday. For that reason, officials set a Tuesday deadline for all grant application materials to have been submitted, processed, approved and forwarded to administrators.

"Today is the last day for enrolling any new workers in the emergency grant," Horsford said Tuesday. However, "any new workers who come in will go through the enrollment (process) for the dislocated worker program."

The only difference in criteria for eligibility is that the job loss has to be tied to the economic slowdown that followed Sept. 11 under the emergency grant program.

However, Horsford also warned that many workers remain to be served, especially combined with the Jan. 29 closure of the Castaways, whose 800 former employees qualify for the same assistance.

The Horseshoe workers who were not able to apply under the emergency grant program are automatically in line for the state program, although some may find the delays caused by the volume of applicants and the paperwork frustrating, he said.

Former Horseshoe workers who asked not to be named said they had previously applied at Nevada Partners for assistance after the casino closed, but were turned away Monday and Tuesday after being told they had missed a deadline for filing application materials.

Several expressed concerns that they have not been able to find new jobs and face large unpaid medical bills. Binion's for at least two years failed to cover claims submitted by workers for medical treatment incurred under the company's self-insurance program.