Mohegan Sun hosts two-day job fair, offers $2,000 signing bonus for culinary roles

Photo of Leeanne Griffin
Mohegan Sun is hosting a two-day job fair May 6 and 7, with $2,000 sign-on bonuses for culinary positions.

Mohegan Sun is hosting a two-day job fair May 6 and 7, with $2,000 sign-on bonuses for culinary positions.

Mohegan Sun / Contributed photo

Mohegan Sun is poised to offer sign-on bonuses for culinary jobs, as the Uncasville resort casino hosts a two-day job fair this week to fill open positions.

The job fair will be held May 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Cabaret Theatre, located in the Casino of the Sky. Employment opportunities are open in food and beverage, event support, security, marketing, VIP, events, hotel and retail, according to a news release.

Offers for culinary positions include a $2,000 sign-on bonus. Mohegan’s career website lists openings for cooks, line cooks, prep cooks and banquet chefs at multiple locations, including Todd English’s Tuscany and the new TAO Asian Bistro Lounge.

Restaurants around Connecticut are looking for help for every role in the restaurant operation — hosts, servers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, bussers — and coming up short, as they face a small labor pool and a lot of competition.

As a busy summer looms, and more vaccinated people head out to dine and drink, owners are concerned about returning to pre-pandemic operations without enough staff.

The restaurant industry was one of the hardest-hit during the pandemic. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, there were 158,200 jobs in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector in February 2020, and as pandemic shutdowns happened in mid-March, that number plunged to 67,400 in April. As of March 2021, that number has climbed to about 122,600.

About 22,278 people formerly employed in the accommodations and food industry in Connecticut are currently receiving unemployment benefits, according to Department of Labor data. Some restaurateurs are quick to point to the enhanced benefits, which include $300 a week in extra compensation, as one reason people are seemingly reluctant to return to restaurant work.

Restaurants around the country are facing similar labor shortages, for several reasons. Workers may not be comfortable returning to work before getting fully vaccinated, or may have sought other, more stable employment as restaurants closed during the pandemic. Some Connecticut owners note that candidates may be choosing jobs in landscaping or construction as those industries pick up again this summer.

In recent weeks, other Connecticut restaurant groups have offered sign-on bonuses to attract staff, including the Hartford-based Max Restaurant Group, which has 11 restaurants in central Connecticut, western Massachusetts and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

For more information on Mohegan Sun’s hiring fair, visit mohegansun.com/careers.

Reporter Alex Soule contributed to this story.