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School offering bartender and card dealer classes provides new career options

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

Just across the street from Arizona State University is another school, this one is a bit different.

It's a school where you can learn to be a bartender or a casino card dealer.

The school is popular with many flocking to get a new start.

From the outside, it looks like any other bar. Every alcohol you could ever think of and stools filled with thirsty patrons.

"Tell me something about brandy? What is it's closest relative" asked "Mike the Bartender".

This bartender is not serving drinks; the bottles are filled with colored water; the patrons are students at the school.

Welcome to ABC Bartending and Casino Card Dealer School in Tempe.

"People come here that want a job change," said school owner, Cosmo Raymond.

"The good thing about becoming a dealer or a bartender is when you go to work and leave work, you leave work, there's no taking work home with you," said Raymond.

The benefits go beyond that for many students.

"I'm not 21 going for my first job; I've had a career, I have two little kids at home. This is something I've wanted to do because it's fun, something extracurricular to do, it's a blast," said Rachel Smallwood.

Smallwood just finished classes a few weeks ago and is already finding part-time jobs bartending around the valley.

"You learn so much, you learn over 100 different drinks, you learn etiquette, bar etiquette.

Just across the hall is another class for those wanting to be card dealers in casinos.

"I was in the teleservice's industry for 20 plus years and got laid off at the end of October. I just felt like something new, I've always wanted to do this playing, but I had a job and I'm a loyal kind of employee," said Jim Cannata.

Cannata said getting laid off helped him realize his dreams.

"Not a lot of people would say "Oh my dream is to be a blackjack dealer" but to each his own, right? It has been sort of my dream," he said.

With a number of Casinos in and around the valley many dealers are able to find work.

"What I was making before is significantly less than what I'm making now, but in this industry I feel like, in two to three years, I can meet and surpass what I was making, but you have to start out somewhere," said Cannata.

For many the classes help them get a job that makes a quick buck.

"Nothing makes us feel better than having somebody come to us and say I got a job," said Raymond.

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