A group of students is one step closer to dealing blackjack at the highly anticipated MGM Springfield casino.
The first graduating class of the casino's gaming school was honored in Springfield today, as the countdown to the casino's opening draws near.
Celebrations are in store for 60 potential blackjack dealers - the first class of graduates from MGM's gaming school.
"I'm looking forward to moving on with the company, hopefully being hired by MGM," said Diane Garvey.
It's all part of the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute, which is training people interested in casino positions.
Courses give all the in's and out's of dealing for games like blackjack, roulette, poker and craps.
Students like Garvey received their certificate for completing the Level 1 blackjack course.
"We had to learn the whole game. We had to learn not only how to handle the chips and cards, but how to play the game and how to handle customers," Garvey noted.
Western Mass News has followed Garvey's journey from the beginning.
All was well in her sales career until some company cutbacks sent her packing, but Garvey didn't let that bring her down.
Instead, she used it as motivation for a fresh start as a games dealer at MGM Springfield.
"I think the interaction has been the best part, made some good friends, and I hope we all work together at MGM," Garvey noted.
This will not guarantee a job, but rather be a stepping stone towards one.
According to the gaming school, each student who completes two courses will have an automatic audition, or interview, for a dealer job at the casino.
There are several four to 10 week classes to choose from, ranging from $200 to $500.
The casino plans to hire 450 dealers, but will interview close to 600.
"We don't expect anybody to come out and be a seasoned, 30-year, Las Vegas-Atlantic City dealer, but these folks are on their way, they're on a path. Their timing is just right," said Robert Westerfield, vice president of table games for MGM Springfield.
Classes continue Monday for carnival games, while additional blackjack, craps, poker and roulette classes will start at the end of the month.
The next class starts on Monday, April 9 for carnival games, followed by additional blackjack, craps and roulette classes starting on April 23, and poker dealer classes start on April 30.
For more information on the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute, CLICK HERE.
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