Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Safety Manager Lori Cummins completed Health Communications, Inc.’s certification process to hold Training for Intervention ProcedureS workshops two years ago. The program teaches bartenders, servers, grocery store clerks and concessions staff regulations and best practices regarding alcohol sales.

“We absolutely follow state law, county law and federal law,” she said. “It is a big thing to try to make people understand that we still want to follow these standards, and it’s by our choice that we set that high standard for our place of business and for our employees.”

Lori Cummins teaches hundreds of Citizen Potawatomi Nation employees best practices for serving and selling alcohol.

Teacher recognition

Cummins discovered TIPS while filling a bar manager’s request to update some training materials. Someone who previously took the course recommended the program, and she decided to become an instructor.

“I really enjoy training, and I’m pretty good at it,” Cummins said, then laughed. “I’ve done it for a long time.”

Her certification allows her to teach six different versions of the class covering all of the Tribe’s needs. Many attendants throughout CPN establishments serve and sell alcohol, and completing a course quickly became a requirement. At first, she filled classes with current employees, eventually transitioning to new hires only.

“Management down to frontline people have sat through this class with me,” she said. “I make sure that employees know and understand that their managers and their supervisors have also been through this training, and they don’t have to face these sometimes difficult situations alone.”

It is now part of CPN’s onboarding process. She received a plaque from Health Communications, Inc. in March 2018 recognizing her for training more than 500 people. Cummins’ total reached 650 staff members this year.

“It just made me feel a little special though to get that award; a little recognition of ‘Thanks for what you do,’” she said. “We get so busy, and every day doing things. It was a nice surprise to get that.”

What attendees learn

TIPS prepares anyone who works with alcohol on how to approach and solve potentially difficult situations, such as fake IDs, refusing service and consequences of illegal alcohol sales.

“It helps minimize our liability as a whole,” Cummins said. “I feel like if people don’t have their proper training, how can they do their job properly?”

The course also explains how the body processes alcohol, and much of it focuses on patron communication.

“We talk about how to talk to them, express your concern for their safety. We really want them to stay here, have a great time, spend money,” she said. “We want them to come back, but at the same time … we want to know that they are ok to make it home or to wherever their next destination is.”

The program provides a smooth transition into Oklahoma’s new liquor laws, which go into effect fall 2018, making the Tribe “ahead of the game,” she said.

“Come Oct. 1 or Oct. 2, if you want to come work for CPN or anywhere else and you need to get a liquor license,” she said, “it is now going to be a requirement of the law that you have training and that you can prove that you’ve had training.”

The TIPS requirement solidifies the Grand’s priorities, in addition to adherence to new regulations. After two years of hard work, the recognition makes the outcome even more satisfying, she said.