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Barona named Best Place to work

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LAKESIDE, Calif. - The Barona tribal casino won the "Best Companies to Work For in San Diego County" in the category of 1,000-plus employees.

The San Diego Business Journal and Ken Blanchard Companies, a management consulting firm, presented the award to Barona, the first American Indian casino to receive such an award.

Barona was singled out for extraordinary service provided to its 1,800 employees. Since the casino is located in a rural area, Barona provides 24 hour shuttle service for employees from El Cajon, an urban area where many of them live.

The casino also has a Magical Wishes program where employees having financial or emotional trouble are sought out and given appropriate relief.

Additionally the casino provides English as a Second Language class to non-English speaking employees, on company time, and has a "Step into the Magic" course that not only teaches customer relations but offers help to employees on their career paths.

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"Over the past decade, we have worked very hard to build Barona Casino into the leading casino in the state and into a premier employer. We work diligently to ensure that all 1,800 of our staff members work in an environment that is rewarding and challenging and one that encourages them to be the best that they can be, said Barona chairman Clifford LaChappa in a press release.

The award presenters listed seven areas as criteria in which nominees are ranked - employee satisfaction, fairness, culture, employability, equality and diversity, communication, leadership and business practices.

Barona casino general manager Karol Schoen says she is very pleased with the award and is proud to be singled out for such an honor.

"One thing that we have learned is that you can never spend too much money or invest too much time on your staff."

Barona governmental affairs coordinator David Baron is a little more succinct about being one of the best places to work in San Diego County.

"I've believed that for a long time."