Students finish first class at dealers school, prepare to go on to next

April 13, 2018 | G. Michael Dobbs

The graduates of the first dealers’ class at the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute will now go on to take a second class in order to qualify for an audition for MGM Springfield.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – There may have not been “Pomp and Circumstances,” playing, but the graduation at The Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute (MCCTI) Gaming School preparing people for a job at MGM had just as much meaning.

The presidents of the two community colleges that organize and run the school – Dr. Christina Royal of Holyoke Community College and Dr. John Cooke of Springfield Technical Community College – attended the afternoon graduation, one of two that was conducted April 6.

Royal told the graduates the class at the school gives them “a head start on the opportunities for the next phase of your life.” She added the school is an example of what “the contemporary community college looks like.”

For Luigi Calabrese of Westfield, completion of the first training class meant “an opportunity for a new career.”

Calabrese, who described himself as “semi-retired” from the food industry, told Reminder Publications that working as a dealer was always something he had wanted to do.

Calabrese, who said he is not an avid gambler, admitted the course in blackjack was “hard at the beginning,” but once he “got over my nerves,” he started to enjoy it.

He called his instructors “amazing” and noted they were available for additional help after school and on Saturdays.

The next class for Calabrese is “carnival games,” the term used to describe a group of poker-based specialty games. All students must successfully complete two classes in order to qualify for an audition with MGM Springfield. Once passed the audition, a job offer may be made.

According to Saverio Mancin, MGM Springfield’s Director of Communications, the casino is still looking for additional student and candidates for dealers’ jobs.  There are now scholarships available he added, as well as tuition assistance. The next cohort started on April 9 for carnival games, followed by additional blackjack, craps and roulette classes starting on April 23 and poker dealer classes starting on April 30.

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