Indian college offers casino management training

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published July 1, 1994  | July 1994 issue

With the growth and increasing popularity of Indian casinos, the National Indian Gaming and Hospitality Institute has an expanding market for its courses in casino management.

The institute is part of the College of the Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wis. Established in June 1993 with $1.1 million designated by the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, the college offers academic courses as well as training in casino management, computer technology and the building trades.

The 7,000 members of the Menominee Tribe are experiencing an economic boom, the direct result of the gaming industry, according to Verna Fowler, college president. "Gaming puts the Indian community in a unique position," Fowler says. "While providing good-paying jobs and a better standard of living for members, it also provides the opportunity to examine how gaming is affecting the Indian culture, the Indian family and the Indian community."

At the institute, students can receive a two-year degree in business administration with an emphasis on hospitality and casino management. Included in the curriculum are customer service, accounting and recording casino profits, employee relations and communications classes. Another area of study is background investigations and security compliance.

In addition to classes held on campus, instructors offer on-site seminars to casino operators, such as a recent security procedures seminar for 60 security officers at a neighboring casino. And while most of the 15 to 20 students come from the Menominee Tribe, the college assists other tribes in casino management. Recently, a group from the San Carlos Apaches participated in training prior to opening a casino on their Arizona reservation.

Currently, the college is planning for additional building construction, hiring staff and finalizing relationships with the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and Green Bay for students to continue their education at those campuses.

The College of the Menominee Nation is the 31st member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, which includes institutions located primarily in the western United States, with one member in Minnesota and one in Michigan.

Diane Wells