Before Bihong Rasha came to work at Turning Stone Resort Casino she had to pay for English learning classes. Now she gets them for free as a team member.

In just two months, Bihong has seen a drastic improvement in her English speaking and comprehension. “I’ve enjoyed working at Turning Stone,” she said. “I came from New York City and I had to pay for these classes. It’s great to get this program for free.”

Certificates of Success were recently awarded to team members that completed the Adult Literacy Education program held at the Resort. Operated in conjunction with Mohawk Valley Community College, the program provides Oneida Nation employees with access to English as a Second Language classes free of charge.

Several members of Turning Stone’s Human Resources team, supervisors and managers of the participants gathered in the Chautauqua Canandaigua Room to celebrate the newest graduates of the English as a Second Language Program.

Among the departments present at the ceremony were Culinary, Housekeeping, Stewards, Table Gaming and Poker. Pete Massa, one of the managers in the poker room, accompanied two members of his team to the ceremony.   He served as a mentor for Bihong, a poker dealer, who said the classes have helped her confidence and interaction with guests.

Graduates and team members were treated to cupcakes made by the pastry team at Turning Stone and department leaders thanked participants for their continued dedication to improving their communication skills.

Sarah Lam and Franca Armstrong represented MVCC and awarded the certificates. Armstrong, a first generation American-born citizen herself, knows how difficult learning the English language is and thanked everyone for their hard work in completing the program while maintaining their full-time work schedules.

Melanie Brunet Relyea, Director of Training and Performance Management, closed the ceremony by thanking MVCC for its partnership with Turning Stone Resort Casino.