It may not be Vegas, but it could very well be one of the Navajo Nation's most electrifying casinos. Many are looking forward to the neon lights of Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort.
According to Kathy Rybar, executive director of human resources for Navajo Gaming, two weeks after the job fair about 250 jobs still needed to be filled. Twin Arrows filled most positions with Native American applicants.
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort officials put on a job fair on February 1-3, 2013 at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff. The casino and hotel is located near the reservation community of Leupp and will be the tribe's fourth casino.
According to Rybar, the job fair was a challenge because organizers did not have all the space they wanted at the High Country Conference Center. Twin Arrows had to share the building with other meetings not related to the job fair.
Casino officials put on a smaller scale job fair in Leupp advertised in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Phoenix and across the reservation.
A recent advertisement for the job fair said Navajos would have preference when it comes to hiring. The Navajo Preference Employment Act states "All employers doing business within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation shall give preference in employment to Navajos. Preference in employment shall include specific Navajo affirmative actions and time tables for all phases of employment to achieve the Tribal goal of employing Navajos in all job classifications including supervisory and management positions."
Managers from other Navajo casinos were also at the job fair looking to hire at their casinos. The Navajo Nation owns Fire Rock Casino, Flowing Water Casino and Northern Edge Casino in New Mexico. Twin Arrows will be the first in Arizona.
A major concern for many potential employees was housing or the lack thereof.
"We do not have housing by the casino, but hopefully in the near future there will be housing available," Rybar said.
Twin Arrows is located approximately 22 miles east of Flagstaff on Interstate 40, and 23 miles west of Winslow. Although Leupp in nearby, there is no public housing available.
"Perhaps we can work with the tribe to see if we can get a shuttle from the casino to surrounding communities," Rybar said.
Randeena Tsosie of Flagstaff applied a week before the job fair. She got hired as a security officer. She did not have a job before Twin Arrows hired her.
"I think it is very good to have a casino on this side of the Rez," she said.
Among those waiting was Yvonne Hasgood, from Pinon, Ariz.
"I am applying for any position that is available on the casino floor," she said. "I think the casino will bring in a lot of money. I hope some will go towards education and scholarships."
Leo Duran and Deanna Smith drove six hours from Albuquerque, N.M. They came to apply for jobs as poker dealers. They've worked at other casinos. Armed with this experience, they felt confident Twin arrows would hire them both. They passed the time by playing poker while they waited for an interview.
Maree Redhair of Navajo Mountain was No. 469. She was surprised to find out Twin Arrows officials had only called No. 170 by 1 p.m.
"I didn't expect this, I hope they get to me by 5 p.m.," Redhair said. "I have a long ways to travel home, but I hope to secure a position in human resources."
Many agree that the casino will be a boost to the economy. According to the Navajo Nation website, the Nation is more than twice the size of Massachusetts, with a growing population of about 200,000. The official unemployment rate is about 50 percent. The median income is less than half the American average.