Issue: December 2007
In This Issue:
Certain industries are big news in New Jersey—and they got that way because they depend on the state’s talented workers. They’ll stay that way—critical to the health of the state’s economy, that is—because new people entering the job market, like you, will recognize that these industries are great places to start and grow your careers. So you may already be aware of New Jersey’s edge in life sciences, information technology and even financial services–but have you felt the buzz around tourism?
OK, numbers can be boring, but these are just too good to leave in the calculator. New Jersey has a $36.3 billion annual travel and tourism industry, which is the source of 472,326 jobs. And they’re not all lifeguards at the Jersey Shore. Tourism includes everything from restaurant workers and casino bartenders to retail cashiers and hotel clerks. The decision makers in Trenton, the state capital, have pinpointed certain areas of the tourism economy that they want to grow, including eco-tourism (tourism that focuses on the environment) around the Jersey Shore, the Highlands, the Pinelands and the Delaware River and Bay, and areas of historic importance like sites of the American Revolution. Middlesex County is even working on building a new Crossroads of the American Revolution Center to entice tourists to learn about New Jersey’s role in this important part of history. And you won’t even have to dress like George Washington to work there.
Check out NJ Next Stop’s Focus Industry on Tourism, accessible through the homepage of www.njnextstop.org, to read up on more tourism occupations, related skills and education. Ever wonder what a gaming dealer does? According to NJ Next Stop, gaming dealers must thoroughly understand all game and casino rules and be able to communicate them effectively to patrons. Because dealers calculate and pay out winnings, they should be able to perform basic math functions both quickly and accurately. It’s also important that gaming dealers have strong monitoring skills. Typically, employers require new hires to have a high school degree or equivalent and provide in-house training, though specialty training from a vocational program is also considered desirable. Read on to find out where you might get this specialty training—and why Atlantic City is high on some career--planners’ priority lists.
Have you been hearing the news out of Atlantic City lately? If not, then maybe you heard the deafening roar of crashing steel. On October 18 news and radio stations broadcast the blasting of the 21-story Sands Hotel and Casino building in Atlantic City, which marked the East Coast’s first-ever casino implosion. Falling buildings can’t possibly be a good sign for the economy, now can they? In this case, yes—destruction may be a great starting point for your career exploration.
Atlantic City is on a roll, so to speak, as it strives to become a more well-known and popular overnight destination. Plans are on the table for a new giant Revel Entertainment casino, which will be Atlantic City’s 12th, a new MGM Mirage casino called MGM Grand Atlantic City, a new mega resort to replace the imploding Sands Hotel and Casino and even a new boardwalk luxury hotel that will replace the Atlantic City Holiday Inn and adjacent Howard Johnson hotel. And these are just a few of the exciting new changes to a city that is determined to become the East Coast Las Vegas.
That’s a lot of new development—and a lot of new jobs for people interested in the tourism, entertainment and, specifically, casino industries. If you’ve always wondered about some of the jobs involved in the casino business, then you might want to look into Atlantic Cape Community College, with locations in Cape May, Mays Landing and Atlantic City. Atlantic Cape has a Casino Career Institute in Atlantic City, which has prepared 50,000 people for positions in gaming. The Casino Career Institute offers students such courses as Intro to Casino Games, Dealer Training, Slot Technician, Surveillance Training and more. If you think cards, dice, chips and roulette wheels are your tools of the trade, then check out these career opportunities. There’s no doubt that the Atlantic City market is hot and getting hotter. This is a lucky time for Atlantic City casino-worker wannabes. Will you place your bets on a career with growth potential?
It’s no secret that when real estate mogul Donald Trump—who happens to own three casinos in Atlantic City—talks, people listen. Looks like the same can be said for his No. 1 New Jersey protégé, Randal Pinkett. Randal, 36, is best known for his role in the ultimate job interview—season four of the TV reality show, “The Apprentice,” which ended on December 15, 2005 when Donald Trump proclaimed: “Randal, you’re hired!” The lesser-known story is that Randal, who grew up in East Windsor and now lives in Somerset, was a success long before his “Apprentice” victory. With five advanced degrees (starting with a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rutgers University); five business ventures, including his current technology consulting firm, BCT Partners, in Newark; and a new book, Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business, Randal has made winning education, career and life choices. NJ Next Stop spoke with Randal about life after “The Apprentice” and so much more.
NJ Next Stop: Where did you go to high school?
Randal: I attended Hightstown High School and graduated in 1989.
NJ Next Stop: Did you work as a teenager?
Randal: My first job in 7th and 8th grade was as a counselor at the Hightstown/East Windsor YMCA. In high school I worked during the summer with my mom at the McGraw-Hill facility in Hightstown processing expense reports. A subsequent summer I was a customer service operator for BusinessWeek, which is published by McGraw-Hill. My last year of high school I worked at RCA, not far from the McGraw-Hill building, doing some computer engineering work.
NJ Next Stop: Did that help you decide to pursue advanced education in engineering and computer science?
Randal:I knew from a young age that I was interested in math and science but I didn’t know what that meant in terms of my career path. During my junior and senior years at Hightstown High, RCA sponsored a minority engineering program. We were bused from Hightstown High to the RCA plant and spent half a day every week with engineers working on an engineering project. This helped me see my options and how to channel my natural talents. I also enrolled as a high school student in a program at Rutgers called the Minority Introduction to Engineering and spent the summer on campus working on an engineering project. Throughout high school I was involved in plays, choir and the band. I tried a lot of different things, but it was engineering and science and math that really resonated with me.
NJ Next Stop:Your company, BCT Partners, is your fifth business venture. How did you become an entrepreneur?
Randal: The turning point for me was my junior year of college. A high school classmate and childhood friend who also went to Rutgers to study engineering started his own company selling t-shirts. Seeing my friend as an entrepreneur forced me to look back on my experiences growing up. I was always experimenting with entrepreneurial opportunities like selling my old toys to kids in the neighborhood. The summer before my senior year I crafted the plan for my first venture, which was selling compact discs out of my Rutgers dormitory. That venture ended up generating as high as $300,000 a year. We used the proceeds from the sales to pay for outreach to high school students to encourage them to go to college. We then figured out that we could charge people for the seminars and workshops that we were holding for young people.
NJ Next Stop:How did “The Apprentice” change your life?
Randal: First, “The Apprentice” gave me notoriety and exposure. Second was the opportunity to shadow a billionaire businessman. It helped me isolate the talents I have that add value to my businesses. Mr. Trump has some 30 ventures going on at the same time and can’t be involved in all 30 in a material way. So he focuses on what he does well. Mr. Trump may not prospect the opportunity, manage it or oversee it, but he will structure it, negotiate it and close it. Before working with him, I was doing too many things and not isolating what I should be focusing on. For me, that is building and cultivating relationships.
Lance Armstrong, the seven-time winner of the Tour de France bicycle race, became a successful professional triathlete—accomplished in biking, running and swimming—when he was only 16 years old. Lance has always said that he is a firm believer in setting goals—big long-term goals and small short-term goals. Then it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to cross the finish line, and reach those goals, time after time.
The Goal-Setter’s Guide: