Making the News

Casino Connection, Atlantic City Edition

Originally Published:Wednesday, March 1, 2006

The SIGMA program is the result of years of interaction between Stockton's continuing education division and the region's main industry. According to Leitner, he and Posner had discussed the need to develop such a training program for years with casino human resources officials, and with Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, which conducts several educational conferences for the industry and publishes the Gaming Industry Observer newsletter.

"If a property wants to fast-track training for two full-time weeks, we can make that happen as well," adds Joe Weinert, vice president of Spectrum Gaming. "We are working with the advisory panel, and the scheduling will be largely up to the employers. Typically, adult education has to be flexible. The schedule of the individual and the schedule of the corporation must be taken into account."

SIGMA-Certified
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey launches a program to meet the industry's training needs

By Frank Legato
Casino Connection, Atlantic City Edition

Students in the behavioral sciences at Richard Stockton College have counted on Dr. Lewis Leitner and Dr. Israel Posner for more than 30 years. This year, the two professors established offices off-campus at Stockton's Carnegie Library Center in Atlantic City, where they are now serving the training needs of the gaming industry.

The two professors now head up a new certification program, called the Stockton Institute for Gaming Management (SIGMA), designed with the help of Spectrum Gaming Group through Stockton's Professional Development and Continuing Education division. Posner, who is now executive director of corporate and professional services for the division, and Leitner, who is executive director of management training and development, have gathered human resources executives and training managers from several casinos together for a series of meetings to get industry input as they finalize the SIGMA instruction program.

The SIGMA program is the result of years of interaction between Stockton's continuing education division and the region's main industry. According to Leitner, he and Posner had discussed the need to develop such a training program for years with casino human resources officials, and with Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, which conducts several educational conferences for the industry and publishes the Gaming Industry Observer newsletter.

"In some ways, we have known for years, through our contact with casinos, the need for training in management development, leadership, and supervisory development," says Leitner, "but until now, it has not been dealt with in a comprehensive fashion."

Posner adds that Stockton's professional development and continuing education division is "ideally positioned" to help strengthen the management forces at the casinos. He notes, for instance, that Stockton has already trained some 3,000 regional employees under a U.S. Department of Labor grant dedicated to customer service training.

"As the industry becomes more competitive, the need to have great talent for the industry to thrive and grow is more compelling," Posner says. "Stockton is here to address that need and develop that talent."

Stockton and Spectrum brought the program from concept to reality in the past year, forming an advisory committee of human resources professionals, educators and expert industry analysts including representatives of Spectrum and of Casino Connection International LLC (including Casino Connection Editor Roger Gros). The advisory panel first met last October, and by last month, had assisted the college in creating a general curriculum for the SIGMA program.

SIGMA Certification

 

SIGMA is designed to help casinos strengthen leadership and supervisory skills in their management workforce, in a comprehensive curriculum addressing practically all areas of casino hotel operations. Managers will receive a SIGMA certification at the end of the program. "It is hoped that SIGMA will encourage talented staff to enhance their managerial skills and knowledge," says Posner.

Posner adds that the SIGMA certificate is sure to be helpful to employees in advancing their careers across the Northeast, in newer jurisdictions such as Pennsylvania and New York. "Having a certificate will be important for the progression of individual careers, and it will be helpful to human resources officials in succession planning," he says.

The program is being tailored around the needs of casino employees, with training sessions lasting no more than four or five hours and flexible scheduling. Instructors will include Stockton faculty, Spectrum Gaming Group associates and experienced gaming executives, regulators and suppliers.

There will be three tiers of certificates available-basic management certification upon completion of four of the five required courses; intermediate gaming management certification after three additional electives; and advanced gaming management certification after three more electives are complete.

Although the schedules were still being finalized at press time, Leitner says the basic certification program will consist of a total of 72 hours of training, divided into several configurations to accommodate people with casino jobs. "We are building a variety of access points to complete the training," Leitner says, "including half-day workshops, full-day workshops, hour-long conferences, training both on-site and off-site-we are working with the properties." "If a property wants to fast-track training for two full-time weeks, we can make that happen as well," adds Joe Weinert, vice president of Spectrum Gaming. "We are working with the advisory panel, and the scheduling will be largely up to the employers. Typically, adult education has to be flexible. The schedule of the individual and the schedule of the corporation must be taken into account."

Spectrum also will provide credit toward certification for attending selected seminars and workshops conducted at its industry conferences. Posner says the college also will take in-house training programs already in place at the properties into account, and award credit toward certification for training already being done by individual casino companies.

Core Curriculum

 

The core curriculum for the SIGMA program includes required courses in gaming leadership and management, data analysis, financial and managerial accounting, customer relationship management, and the special requirements of doing business in New Jersey. Electives will include special training in a variety of job-related areas, and as Posner notes, all courses will be designed according to what casino officials indicate is needed.

"We've been working with the casino industry to provide this training in response to specific needs," he says. "The industry has told us their needs in the past and we have worked to fill them, but this takes it to the next level by putting together a comprehensive curriculum."

The core curriculum for the start of the SIGMA program includes the following:

Required Courses

• Gaming Leadership and Management

• Gaming Industry: Status and Trends

• Data Analysis and Data-Based Decision Making

• Financial and Managerial Accounting

Electives

• Surveillance Operations and Bottom-Line Impact

• Advances in Gaming Technology

• Security and Risk Management

• Marketing and Promotional Strategies

• Slot and Table Game Management

• Regulatory Issues

• PR and Crisis Management for Gaming Executives

• Psychosocial Issues

• Non-Gaming Revenue: Opportunities and Challenges

More courses are being added in both the required and elective categories, and the program will be in a constant mode of upgrading as needs arise.

The SIGMA program was set to begin with a "soft start" for the spring, beginning this month at the Carnegie Library Center. For March, April and May, at least one course will be conducted at the Carnegie center, with courses on site at the properties in each of those months as well. A more formal start to the SIGMA program is slated for fall.

According to Posner, the advisory council will keep meeting a few times a year to keep the program fresh and assure the needs of the industry are being met.

For more information on the SIGMA program, contact Stockton's Professional Development and Continuing Education office at 609-652-4227, visit the division's website at www.stocktonpdce.net, visit Spectrum Gaming Group's website at www.spectrumgaming.com/programs, or call Spectrum at 609-272-0900.

"Stockton is revitalizing its Professional Development and Continuing Education program to build bridges to the hospitality business and gaming industry," says Leitner. "SIGMA is representative of Stockton renewing its effort in professional development and continuing education and combining it with Spectrum, which has professional expertise in gaming. Together, we feel we have created something of much value to the industry."

Frank Legato is editor of Casino Connection and also editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.

Spectrum OSO Asia SPECTRUMETRIX  Spectrum-i 
© Copyright 2007-2018 - Spectrum Gaming Group. All Rights Reserved.

Spectrum Gaming Group • 1201 New Road, Suite 308 • Linwood, NJ 08221 • USA
Phone: 609.926.5100 • Fax: 609.926.5121 • info@spectrumgaming.com


Site Development and Hosting provided by
MasseyMedia