TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — One of the Bay area’s largest employers is investing $100 million into its team members. Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming said they are increasing wages for half of their workforce.

In some cases, wages are up more than 60%. Tara Sims works the front desk at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. Sims will now see an additional $5 per hour in her paycheck.

“All the things that make Hard Rock Tampa so great really belong to it because of the staff here and it’s time for us to step up and take care of them as well,” said Steve Bonner, President of Hard Rock Tampa.

Bonner said 1,500 entry-level employees with starting wages between $11-14 could now be earning $18-21 per hour. In some cases, this increase would mean more than doubling the state’s minimum wage of $10. Some of the roles that will see the increase include: cooks, housekeeps, security, and the call center.

“It’s helping my children go through college and putting them through the sports that I do, you know it helps a lot,” Sims said.

For Sims, it’s shocking and unexpected.

“Everything’s going up — the cost of living — so it was needed very much.”

Bonner called it a “game-changing” moment with the tribe supporting employees all the way through the pandemic.

“We’ve heard stories like ‘I can afford a new car now,’” Bonner said. “’I can afford transportation. I can get my own place. I don’t have to live with friends or family anymore.'”

Hard Rock Tampa is looking to hire 500 new employees.