Former Principal Chief Michell Hicks was all set to take over the tribe’s highest-paying job — director of the Tribal Gaming Commission — when his political term ended Oct. 5, but now that offer’s off the table.
The day after Chief-Elect Patrick Lambert takes his oath of office, Principal Chief Michell Hicks will take over Lambert’s old job as executive director of the Tribal Gaming Commission.
Wanda Morris walked into uncharted territory when she started teaching Gaming Management Technology three years ago at Southwestern Community College.
“We were the first community college in the state to offer the program so we took our chances thinking outside the box,” said Morris. “In fact, very few four-year colleges even offer the program.”
At the college’s graduation ceremony Tues., Dec. 15, the first graduates of SCC’s program will receive their certificates.
Gaming is a big business with a certain lure of 24/7 excitement as blackjack tables whirl and slot machines hit jackpot.
To design a college program that accurately represented the professional field, Morris called on experts like Ron Hager, who has more than 25 years experience in the gaming industry. Hager, who came to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino from Caesar’s in Indiana, gave the students an overview of the different games like craps, roulette and cards. Then he took them into Harrah’s training center to practice dealing and playing with professionals.
“I knew if I was going to bring that same sense of excitement to the classroom that the classroom sure wouldn’t be typical,” Morris said.
Harrah’s director of marketing Leeann Bridges-McHattie instructed the class in planning a marketing calendar. Students learned the customer service end from Greg Galloway of Harrah’s. They learned about job descriptions and job analysis from Jo Blaylock and Tina Vaitkus, who talked about how many job descriptions will change as a result of the casino’s ability to serve alcohol.
Other courses in the program dealt with gaming law and regulations, accounting and controls, gaming facility management and social issues in gaming.
For more information, call Thom Brooks, SCC dean of career technologies, at 828.586.4091, ext. 202.