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Coping with the furlough: And lessons from the recession

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

When people lose work training programs of all sorts add new students.   The Professional Bartending School is no different.  During the recessions of 2000 and the latest recession of 2008/2009  this school like other training programs and bartending schools across the country saw a significant increase in potential students and actual students.

Furloughed Workers Fill the Class

With the furlough driving hundreds of thousands of public and private workers into limbo our class sizes increased.  In this class, running in October there are nine students/bartenders currently on furlough:

Bartending Class With furloughed workers

 

They include furloughed government workers and contractors.   Some  had looked into our program earlier.  Now they have time to take our classes.      Others found themselves with nothing to do.  They want ways to make extra income and have fun at the job.  They want more skills to be more financially independent.

The class includes one furloughed worker who had taken our program earlier.  He is now taking our free refresher classes.  He used our placement program for part-time work  including the two day inaugural balls earlier this year, where he made bank.  He recently used our placement program again and has picked up a part time job.  He is using these classes to refresh and hone his skills for that new part time bartending gig.  He started his new part time gig during the second weekend of October and here he is:

 

Robert bartending at the Hampton Inn



 

Student Uses Furlough to add flexible skills and make himself more independent

Bartending training is a great way to add a marketable skill.  One of our furloughed students has additional credentials and varied commercial skills.  He refuses to let a job, or a company or even a government get in the way of his ability to earn a living.  We are happy to add bartending to his list of credentials and ability to function regardless of market conditions.


Of course it hasn’t been that long since the last time hordes of people lost work.  The heart of the recent recession hit the DC region during 2008, 2009 and extended into 2010.   Like many other training programs we did see an increase in interest and attendance at our school.   We recontacted some of our grads from that period to see how our program helped them if they are still bartending.

Beat the Recession and Job Loss:  Learn a new valuable skill

One of the more interesting bartending success stories from the recession was that of Paul Costanzo, an over 60 long term professional who was shut out of work due to the recession, took our bartending course in 2009.  He has been bartending virtually non stop since then.  And he loves it!!!!

Paul’s story was so interesting he was featured in a story in AARP magazine.  We also wrote about him and updated the story in 2011.  Here is a current update.

Paul has bartended at five different noted restaurants in the greater DC region.  First at was then the new Ford’s Fish Shack in Ashburn, (now tremendously popular), then Food Matters in Alexandria, later the noted high end national chain restaurant Seasons 52 in Tysons, at the popular Tavern@River Falls in Maryland, and at Ancora, the restaurant opened in the Watergate by noted Chef Bob Kincaid.   Paul, like many bartenders has experienced different environments, moved around, found environments that work or don’t work for him and mastered the craft.   And he did all this at an age most can’t imagine.   Over 60.  And he loves it.  Here is Paul when he bartended in Alexandria:


While Paul is the exception for bartenders his experience is useful for all people looking for bartender jobs regardless of age.  He used clever universal methods for job hunting applied to bartending and his age and circumstances.  It has worked.  Continuously.   We have distilled his experiences and used them to to guide other grads older than the norm.  When they apply it to their own circumstances it works.

We’ve distilled Paul’s experience, that of thousands of grads, our depth of knowledge, and synthesized all of it as part of our job placement program.  Its accompanied by a stream of new job leads that flow into our office every week.  They come from every kind of bartender employer in the region.  Its part of the reason we have been able to average about 100 new bartending jobs every month for our grads.

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Part time jobs in Northern Virginia

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Our bartending school provides endless opportunities for part-time work for those looking to augment their income. Our school has been a huge source for part-time jobs for grads for years, in fact decades. Whether someone is working, in college or grad school, retired, or simply looking to earn some extra income we have aided thousands of graduates in landing additional part-time work and extra income.

Take Kendra and Brent for instance.



PBS grads Kendra and Brent bartending at an event in Clarendon



Kendra is a consultant with a full time job.  She wanted extra income.  She wanted flexible work, and as she told us she didn’t want a boring low paying retail job.  She took our course.  We have now given Kendra two gigs covering three days.  They came directly off our leads.   One was at a concert at National Stadium.  The above picture was taken in the middle of Clarendon during the annual two day Arts Festival thrown by the Clarendon Alliance.

Between hourly pay and tips Brenda has already paid for the classes.

Part time jobs for College Students

Brent is  a 21 year old student at George Mason University.  He also wanted flexible part time opportunities.  The Clarendon Alliance event was his first bartending gig–a two day event of about 4-6 hours each day.  It occurred during the first few weeks after he graduated.   Brent has opportunities to work parties, events, weddings, or might end up getting some shifts at many of the nearby bars in close proximity to George Mason that have hired our grads.

Matt, below, took our program during college break, used our suggestions and smarts from the placement office and landed a first job in Blacksburg before being promoted to this high profile position at the Continental Divide Bar for visitors to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg.



Matt from Virginia Tech bartending in Blacksburg




Part time jobs for the employed

Many of our students have a full time job but are looking for extra income.  It could be for a myriad of reasons.   Brenda took our course for just that reason.  Years before Brenda had worked in the hospitality industry and in a variety of restaurants.  Now she is an adult, a mother, and someone eager to earn extra income in a part time job that is better paying and more fun than retail or for a  call center.   She took our course.

After finishing the 40 hour program and going through our placement assistance session and accessing our leads Brenda still hadn’t landed a bartending gig.

That didn’t phase us.  We want to see grads earn back the cost of the program and make that extra income.   We went back over opportunities with Brenda and redirected her.



Brenda at Westwood Country Club in Vienna



She is now applying her recently acquired bartending skills with long developed skills from years of working at restaurants.  She loves it.  It augments her regular income and is infinitely better than sitting in an office or working a low paying retail job.

Part Time Jobs in DC and Maryland

Our placement office works with opportunities throughout the region.   In January up to 50 grads worked either one or two nights for the Inauguration parties.   This was an awesome event.  Some of our grads called it the most memorable day of work they ever had.  They were paid an hourly salary and tips.   And some earned “bank”.  Tremendous money.   Here are a few of their pictures.



Tasia bartending the inauguration events





Fikre bartending at the inauguration



Not only did these and so many other grads get to bartend at this exciting event, earn great money, but before the events started they got to experience a private concert as many of the stars practiced before the evenings’ grand ball.

Our school has been helping grads earn part time income for decades. If you are looking for part time jobs and income give us a call: (703) 841 9700







Successful Inventor and Entrepreneur| But Can he bartend

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

We are very proud of our recent grad Robin Thomas. He invented the Noteboard, sold thousands of them, had it go viral, was written about in a wealth of popular web sources: HuffingtonPost, Techcrunch , Forbes and other major media sources. He has since sold this fledging business to afford him the ability to retire, (or rest, or think, or cogitate, or explore) for at least a little while.

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It’s all been a whirlwind of activity. In the midst of this hugely successful and frenetic period he took the time to take our 40 hour bartending course. He loved it. He graduated. He mixed, shook, and stirred with a fervor and dedication. He graduated from our program even as he decided to leave another prestigious school of higher education, Stanford University.

And now he is another example of a unique inventive world of major inventors. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both quit college and they developed fairly well known businesses, Microsoft and Apple. Is Robin Thomas next in line for such fame and fortune?

Congrats, Robin!!!! But can you bartend???? Since he finished our classes in early February, 2013 he has managed to dramatically increase sales of the Noteboard and sell his business to a larger enterprise. He is a success.

The staff at Noteboard.com turns the company into a huge viral success

The staff at Noteboard.com turns the company into a huge viral success

But he still hasn’t bartended in a real paying gig. Not a party, not a bar, not an event, not a restaurant nor a club, or a catered event. So many high paying, fast moving opportunities behind the rail…and Robin decided to forego all of them to develop a successful business, build it into a thriving enterprise, and then cash out with a big (or relatively big payout). Now he is living the life of Riley. What a man.

Robin has yet to cash in on his well honed bartending skills. Robin reports he makes killer drinks for his friends and they love them. (I bet he is hugely popular with this rare skill) But nobody has tipped him a buck for the rarified skills he developed at our school.

Would you hire Robin to bartend? You should. He is an inventive writer, a musician, at a young age he has a wealth of experiences, and he is already a successful entrepreneur….and because of that he has time on his hands to shake em and stir em and mix you a wide variety of tasty cocktails (at least his friends think they are tasty).

If you want this exclusive talent to bartend at your event call us. We provide bartenders to parties and for full and part-time employment.

Dionne bartending at a beach party

For all those enterprising Washingtonians you would get the treat of being served cocktails by the Gutenberg of modern communications, a rare treat indeed.

BTW: This week Robin announced in Reddit that he sold The Noteboard. He’s been busy responding to Redditers and contemplating his next move. We think bartending should be in his future!!!!

Mixology Classes DC

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Whether you are searching for mixology classes or bartending classes for Washington DC you have arrived at the best known, longest running, and most acclaimed school to learn these skills.   The Professional Bartending School has been providing hands on bartending instruction in the region since 1968.  Our graduates are popular and well known bartenders throughout the region, let alone owners and managers of restaurants and bars.   Beyond that our graduates include mixologists, regardless how its defined, either old school or current definition.

What is the difference between a bartender and a mixologist

For most of the long history of bartending one would never have considered a difference between bartenders and mixologists.  Its only been in the last decade that the art of craft cocktails has begun to spread across the nation accompanied by media and news accounts.  Its in that spirit that the two terms have begun to take on somewhat different meanings to those in the industry.

An entire new subgroup of expert mixologists  specialize in both recreating the classic popular cocktails of the early part of the 20th century along with exotic new cocktails.  These drinks combine a wide array of high quality and fresh mixers and garnishes with an ever expanding variety of specialty liquors and liqueurs.  The drinks are expensive, the settings reflect the pricing, and the movement has taken on the name and role of mixologists in today’s media.   In a sense they have become distinguished from the 99% of bartenders who mix and pour drinks in every kind of establishment from the neighborhood bar to many of the finest dining establishments.

Yes!!  We have grads that are both mixologists and bartenders

One of our favorite grads, who returned to the school to teach after practicing and developing as a bartender is our grad/former instructor, Ron.  As an instructor Ron was much loved by his students and received a lot of attention and affection.   Our facebook post that referenced Ron drew a huge amount of student/graduate attention.

Ron is now both manager, bar manager, and bartender at Shaws Tavern where he combines his experience, knowledge, skill, speed and efficiency to be both high volume bartender and craft mixologist.

Ron’s mixology skills were highlighted recently in an article about one of his new mixology creations featured at Shaws, Fifties on Fifth. Its a wonderful looking and tasting drink and one of several new cocktails Ron is featuring at Shaws.

We think Ron is a perfect example where you can combine both bartending and mixology and please both large and discerning crowds.

Yelp reviews of the Professional Bartending School

Monday, February 11th, 2013

We are grateful for the terrific reviews that students/grads write about the Professional Bartending School.  Go ahead and read them.  You can find a lot on The Yelp page for bartending schools.  We just went back over them.  Currently as of mid July, 2014 there are 27 on Yelp.  You have to dig though to find all of them.  As of this time, 7 are being shown and 20 are what Yelp describes as “not currently recommended”.   The old Yelp term for that was filtered.  Its some kind of Yelp algo to figure out which reviews to show and which not.  Its been a controversial issue.

You can find the “not currently recommended” reviews by clicking on a light shaded link beneath the last review.  That link is at this moment labeled “20 other reviews not currently recommended”.  That takes you to the reviews that Yelp decided it didn’t want to highlight or include in the overall ratings
We aren’t going to complain. Its Yelp’s system. But if you want to read them go ahead. Here is some information we gathered up from the current 27 yelp reviews:

  • They cover a lot of years. One was written as far back as 2007. Some are written this year.
  • 21 of the reviews are 5 Star. Wow!!! Thanks a lot!!
  • 4 are 4 Star. Wow!!! Again, Thanks a lot!!!
  • 1 is 2 Star. The person didn’t attend the school. They called us and were put on hold. We apologized.
  • 1 is 1 Star. We responded. We are sure it was planted by a competitor. We gave our reasons why. As Yelp suggested we contacted the writer via Yelp. The person never responded. We checked our enrollment records. Nobody by that name from that town attended our school. We are sure it was faked.
  • We checked something else. The reviewers come from all over the region. 12 were from different towns and cities in Maryland. Three were from Washington DC. 10 of the reviewers were from different towns in Virginia.  One was from somebody who returned to Louisiana and another from somebody originally from NYC.

    One of them was from somebody named Adam, from Bethesda written in 2008. We checked with him earlier in 2014. He is still bartending and managing for the same employer. Cool. That is long term value.  Another review of our bartending school came from Noah from Silver Spring written in 2010.  He is still bartending.  We know he picked up new bartending jobs in 2014 because of our placement assistance.  If you visit our school for a free class and want to review job placement records you will find his name on placements this year.

    If you can’t find the reviews but want to read what graduates of our bartender school have said over many years, contact our school at (703) 841-9700.   We’ll copy the pages and email them to you.



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