Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 | 3:57 p.m.
Recruiters for CityCenter made their first public appearance Thursday at a job fair at Green Valley Ranch Resort, where a throng of anxious job seekers was ready to receive them.
The Opportunity Boulevard Winter Career Fair had more than 2,500 people pre-registered, and event organizers were expecting as many as 5,000 people to come through the doors.
The fair was organized in part by the Las Vegas Sun, Recruiting Nevada and In Business, which like the Home News, are part of the Greenspun Corporation. Green Valley Ranch Resort is a joint venture of Station Casinos and the Greenspun family.
CityCenter Recruiting Director David Reese said he expected to see 20,000 applications in the first week for the 12,000 job openings the project announced Monday. Overall, he said he expects 100,000 applications.
When the doors opened at noon Thursday, CityCenter's booth was instantly swarmed, which Reese said came as little surprise.
"I think people are excited," he said. "It's a gigantic project, and I think it's exciting for people to see those 12,000 jobs and figure out where they fit in."
For job seekers like Inessa Pasternak, however, there is a more immediate emotion: frustration.
Pasternak, an accountant, has been out of work since February and was at her seventh job fair. She has a part-time gig lined up with an accounting firm during tax season, but once that ends, she will be back to nothing.
She drove all the way from Pahrump to apply at CityCenter and was roaming the fair to see if anyone else might need an accountant.
"It's very difficult," she said. "It's very — frustrating — I think is the word I would use. A lot of places have too many applicants, and many job postings turn out to be just scams."
Reese said he knows there are many similar stories, and said having the opportunity to help people find jobs at a time like this is rewarding. But he knows that CityCenter will see far more applications than it has jobs, and to streamline the process, it is being done entirely online at www.citycentercareers.com.
The site allows job seekers to select a particular position, go through a pre-screening process, and if they pass, they will be scheduled for an interview. If they don't, he said, the system will help them find something more suited to their skills.
Many job seekers were disappointed at the fair. Though there were more than 30 booths set up, a handful of them were from trade schools recruiting people looking for new skills and several other companies were only taking resumes and applications to hold on file for future openings.
"The problem that we've heard is that there aren't a lot of jobs out there, so job seekers are getting frustrated," said Doug Geinzer, job fair organizer and director of online classified advertising for Recruiting Nevada. "But the upside is that most of the jobs that are out there in the Las Vegas area are represented here."
Though a relatively small number of the fair's patrons were likely to find employment from the fair, Geinzer said organizers included seminars about resume writing and job hunting skills in order for everyone to take something positive from the event. The feedback he received was mostly positive, he said.
"We want people to have confidence," he said. "There is hope out there. There are jobs, they're just harder to find than they've been in the past."
The job fair drew potential employees from all walks of life: professionals who have been laid off, teenagers, recent college graduates and even retirees looking to re-enter the workforce.
Carol Slaughter, who accompanied Pasternak from Pahrump, was in the latter group.
"I'm retired, but with the economy the way it is now, I need a little extra money to supplement my income," she said.
Many job seekers at the fair were younger, college-age individuals looking for work.
Jimmy Lin of Henderson has been looking for a sales job for six months, since returning from working overseas.
"I have a little bit of money saved up," Lin said. "But eventually if it doesn't pick up in the next month or two, it will be hard not to get frustrated."
Other job seekers entered the fair with a broad approach.
"I'm going to go to every (booth) and hope one of them takes me," said Bryce Brooks, who traveled from North Las Vegas.
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.