SALAMANCA - When the bets had all been placed, everybody agreed on one thing - employees participating in the Seneca Allegany Casino's career development program are doubling down on their success.
The program, which includes a partnership between the Seneca Gaming Corporation and Jamestown Business College, concluded a professional development training seminar series for its participants with an etiquette luncheon and graduation ceremony on Wednesday.
The seminar series, known as "Seneca Professional EDGE (Etiquette, Dress, Goals, Ethics)," was held over the course of six weekly sessions. As part of the program, JBC offered training in areas of professional and dining etiquette, accountability, motivation and strong customer service. According to Jessica Golley, director of marketing and communications, this is the second year that JBC has offered professional development seminars to participants in the already established career development program at the casino.
Participants of the Seneca Professional EDGE program pose after an etiquette luncheon held at the Seneca Allegany Casino on Wednesday.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"We had a great group last year, and we had some good feedback for ways that we could enrich the program even more. So we're back for a second year," she said.
David Conklin, president of JBC, said that he is pleased with the results of the partnership.
"Over the past several years, we have experienced great success with our own professional training at both the associate and bachelor degree level," he said. "So, when we were approached to partner with SGC, it seemed like a great opportunity to partner. Their goals for the future and our trainings go hand-in-hand. Needless to say, we are glad to see the program extend into another year."
The efforts of the series' participants were culminated in an etiquette luncheon, held at the casino, to conclude the program. The event began with an introduction given by JBC staff Rosanne Johanson, vice president, and Golley and Cathy Walker, president and chief executive officer of the SGC.
The program continued with comments from the SGC's career development staff, including: Flip White, director; Nanette Helgager, senior program manager; Lesley Zurek; and Jessica Ludwick. The career development staff were followed by Jennifer Ullman and Todd Pierce, students of the sermon series who were nominated by their peers to speak at the luncheon.
These comments were followed by the meal and a walkthrough of proper dining etiquette, which was provided by Johanson. After the meal, attendees were invited to introduce themselves and talk about something that they've learned through Seneca Professional EDGE.
"What I found most interesting was the day we (talked about) accountability," said Leslie Howard, a participant. "Before you can be accountable to anybody else, you have to be accountable to yourself first. That just really struck home to me. It was a great experience."
"I've learned a lot," said Stacey Van Buren, another participant. "I participated in being a guinea pig by stepping out of my comfort zone and coming in with a wrinkled uniform and a fake tattoo on my neck to see what your first visual impression is of somebody. But everything was a good refresher, and it's been a good group to work with."
Participants were then recognized by a graduation ceremony in which they received a certificate of completion, as well as books and materials to apply toward future success in their careers.
"(This was) an opportunity for the participants that we have to really see their own ability in being able to handle themselves in a business environment," said Helgager. "A lot of them haven't had an opportunity where they've needed to do this type of thing."
She continued: "Today, our young people here are dressed in very nice clothes. When they walked in (at the beginning of the series), (some of them) didn't own a tie or a nice shirt or a nice pair of slacks. But now, they've come along to the point where they feel confident and look good, and we've coached them along in the whole process. And having the (luncheon) here today, where they're going to be able to share and talk to people in a business setting, is just such a good opportunity for them."
"We are thrilled to be able to be a part of this, and to (have) an opportunity to take some of the lessons we've learned and bring them forward into the community," said Johanson.