by Alana J. Mauger
A challenging job market led Jayne Flanagan, North Coventry, to attend an information session to learn about casino dealer training offered by Montgomery County Community College in the fall.
“I was getting nowhere finding another job and realized it was time to think creatively,” said Flanagan, who was employed as an engineering coordinator before being laid off. “I had never considered a career in the casino industry, but it sounded really interesting, and I think the opportunities will be outstanding.”
Many of Flanagan’s classmates from track I of the College’s casino dealer training program agree that the state of the economy prompted them to enroll.
“I’ve been unemployed for three of the last five years,” said Robert Sweeny, of Hatfield. “My career [as a purchasing agent] is dead. This is a good job opportunity without putting out a huge amount of money for training.”
The College’s Center for Workforce Development is currently offering its second track of casino dealer training in coordination with the Valley Forge Casino Resort, which is slated to open in the spring of 2012 at the Valley Forge Convention Complex in King of Prussia. The casino will feature 600 slot machines and 50 live gaming tables along with retail, restaurants and entertainment offerings.
Taught in a state-of-the-art mock casino, training courses include Introduction to Table Games; Blackjack/Carnival Games; Craps; Mini Baccarat; Roulette; and CPR. Students must be 18 years of age or older to participate in the training.
“I was surprised by the level of detail that we needed to learn in order to do our jobs,” said Flanagan. “When you watch dealers – they make it look easy. But you don’t realize what else goes in to it. It’s far more than just playing the game.”
Linda Snyder, of Spring City, who has been working a series of part-time jobs since being laid off, agrees.
“We had to put in a lot of time learning and practicing,” she said, “For example, I had to learn the mechanics of moving my fingers separately from each other and how to move the chips.”
While completing the casino dealer training does not guarantee employment, graduates will gain skill credentials that are portable anywhere in the U.S. Most of the students enrolled in the College’s training plan to audition for positions at the brand new Valley Forge Casino Resort.
“There’s a certain excitement about working in a new place,” said Osmond Mincarelli, of Spring City.