Copa Casino managers admitted they were surprised at just how many people turned out for day one of their job fair. Kelli McCarthy is the casino's Human Resources Director. "We've gotten many, many applications so far who qualified for pretty much all positions," McCarthy said.
Susan Moraga was one of the applicants. She hoped a casino cocktail tray would replace the waitress pad she currently uses. Moraga said the waitress position "just doesn't make the money for you to live off of." But she thought the cocktail job could.
Dina Agee was also at the job fair. She wanted something to do while she wasn't studying at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jeff Davis campus. So she also filled out a casino application.
Hundreds of other people had the same idea. They stood in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Beachfront, hoping to hear their names called. Many applicants waited several hours to get inside the job fair meeting room. "That's what is exciting and amazing," Agee said, "you're standing here in a line, a massive line, and a massive crowd of people."
The Copa plans on hiring up to 175 new workers, so it can properly staff its bigger barge when it opens in the fall. Howard Conley Junior said he'd like one of those jobs. When Conley talked to WLOX News, he had been at the job fair for more than three hours. And he said he wasn't leaving until he met with a supervisor. He said, "I guess if you really want the job, sir, you have to sit here and wait."
About 20 minutes later, Conley had his interview. Just like everybody else at the job fair, he explained why he should be an employee on board the new Copa, when it opens September 19th.
On Friday, the Copa Casino holds a second job fair. It will also be at the Holiday Inn on Highway 90 in Gulfport, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.