When she’s not spending the night watching the table games at Caesars Palace, Kelly Paiz is focused on enrolling her four children in college.
So far she has two downs and two to go. And now she has some much-appreciated help from Caesars Entertainment.
The company recently launched its All-In On Education benefits program which offers several ways for its full-time and part-time employees to pay for college or other technical training for themselves and their dependents.
Paiz’s son, Hunter Walker, recently benefited from the program. He was selected from more than 100 applicants to be among the first class of 22 Don Carano Legacy Scholarship recipients, including seven in the Las Vegas area.
“It’s always been difficult to figure out how to help each of them,” said Paiz, who has worked at Caesars for 15 years in various capacities. “For a student, getting into an education program is very easy. Paying it is not easy. »
“As a mother, it’s so important to want your children to succeed,” she added.
Caesar’s Educational Benefits Program includes:
— Assistance with tuition fees up to $5,250 annually.
— Repayment of student loan debt up to $5,250 annually.
— A 529 education savings plan for dependents.
– Access to inexpensive or free degrees through Strayer University and Capella University, as well as other networked degree programs.
— The Don Carano Legacy Scholarship, which provides up to $20,000 over four years to dependents of employees.
Walker, 20, is transferring from the College of Southern Nevada to UNLV this fall to study international business. Now he will attend his new school with almost no tuition fees.
“It feels good not having to burden my mom,” Walker said. “I can achieve my goals without stressing my parents.”
Ana Munoz, director of community impact and giving at Caesars, said the education program would allow her to pursue a doctorate. in hotel administration and eventually a career as a university professor.
Las Vegan, 41, married with one grown son, said she will start school part-time in August and expects to need six years or more to complete her program. She will use the tuition reimbursement portion of the education benefits program to reduce her costs.
“I probably should have taken out another student loan,” she said in an email interview. “Since I’m still paying off my undergraduate loans from over a decade ago, it’s a huge relief not to add to that debt.”
Stephanie Lepori, chief administrative officer and accountant of Caesars, said the benefit to the company was simple.
“Our team members are our top priority,” she said. “It may sound cliché, but they are our greatest asset and the key to our success.”
She said a saying she had heard passed down from casino executives over the years was that “You couldn’t always afford Frank Sinatra, but you could always afford to have a great team.”
Lepori said Caesars believed the program would help recruit and retain employees, but they were welcome to pursue training opportunities that would end up alienating them from the company.
Paiz said she is grateful that her job provides opportunities for her son. She said Walker’s personal essay for the scholarship application moved her because of how he opened up about the challenges he and his peers at Palo Verde High School were facing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“To see his journey is beautiful,” she said.