Money from Baltimore's Horseshoe Casino has helped 300 residents find jobs, the mayor's office said Monday.
The Employment Connection Center in South Baltimore has enrolled more 1,200 residents in job-readiness programs and placed 300 people in jobs with area businesses since it opened a year ago.
The center's $520,000 budget comes from local impact grants the casino is required to fund. The center helped residents land jobs at Ellicott Dredges, Hilgartner Natural Stone Co., Second Chance and Amazon, among other businesses.
"This is an example of what happens when businesses, government, and the community come together to strategically leverage resources," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
The center's goal is to match residents of South and Southwest Baltimore, including the neighborhoods of Pigtown, Cherry Hill and Westport, with local employers. It has a full-time staff of five.
It's one of four satellite employment career centers in Baltimore operated by the Mayor's Office of Employment Development.
Daraius Irani, chief economist at the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University, called the announcement good news.
"For the city of Baltimore, every job matters," he said. "Every job the private sector is paying for is one less job that doesn't have to come from state or local government.
"Think about if a company were to come in and add 300 jobs. ... If you can add 300 jobs every year with an employment center, that's good news."
Horseshoe Casino, with more than 2,100 employees, is one of the largest private employers in Baltimore. Nearly 60 percent of its employees are city residents, company officials said.
"As a local employer who wants to hire the best candidates in the community, we're pleased to support a facility that helps individuals learn the skills they need to excel in the workforce," Horseshoe general manager Erin Chamberlin said in a statement.
The casino paid $9.3 million in local impact grants, $13.5 million in city tax and lease payments and $104 million to the state's education trust fund in the last fiscal year. The payments are required by the city and state.
The casino paid about $2.5 million for minority- and women-owned small businesses. It receives about $6 million in tax breaks through state and city programs for impoverished areas.
Besides the employment center, local impact grants last year provided $2 million to move an underground pipe near the casino, $1.5 million for extra police near the casino, $1 million for more City Watch cameras in the area, and $350,000 for community enhancement projects.