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160,000 applications later, CityCenter makes job offers

Most employees will start work in November for opening the following month


Steve Marcus

Job applicants check in at the CityCenter Career Center on Industrial Road Monday, Sept. 21, 2009.

Updated Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 | 3:52 p.m.

CityCenter Extends Job Offers

City Center is extending 12,000 job offers during the month of September. Many positions will go to locals and a few people will move to Las Vegas for an opportunity to work for the property.

For 23-year-old Mollie Ehrman, Monday meant a new start in a new city.

Ehrman received a job offer for a salon receptionist position at Aria at CityCenter’s employment center. It made her decision to move to Las Vegas official.

The recent college graduate and soon-to-be Ohio transplant has been working at an Ohio department store, but today marks the start of her first “big girl job,” as she called it.

“Everything’s changing,” Ehrman said “Everything’s brand new.”

CityCenter began making employment offers to hundreds of workers Monday in preparation for the project's opening later this year, bringing hope to those who have been unemployed and new opportunities for others looking to make a change.

The $8.5 billion complex on the Las Vegas Strip was extending offers to between 500 and 700 people on Monday. Most employees filling the remainder of the 12,000 jobs will receive offers of employment by the end of the month.

Eman made the decision to eventually move to Las Vegas last October and began the application process at CityCenter in the spring. The weather is what motivated her to make the move, she said, but the opportunity to live in what she called a fast-paced city added to the decision.

“I’m from a small, small town in Ohio … I went to a small college, too,” Ehrman said. “I wanted something more diverse. I wanted to do something crazy.”

While others back home in Springfield, Ohio, warned of Las Vegas’ tough economy, Ehrman was set on Vegas.

“Everyone at home was like ‘What are you thinking? Las Vegas?’ But I thought, if it was meant to be, it was meant to be,” Ehrman said.

CityCenter officials originally expected to receive 100,000 applications for the open positions, but Michael Peltyn, vice president of human resources for CityCenter, said the number was closer to 160,000. Of those who applied, 50,000 were interviewed for the 12,000 openings.

"We called people on the phone to schedule their offer appointments and there were a lot of emotional people, but in a good way," Peltyn said. "They come in and they're ecstatic, as you can imagine."

He said most of the employees will begin work in November ahead of CityCenter's opening in December.

"We're positively impacting people’s lives," Peltyn said. "There may be people getting jobs today who as a result can pay their mortgage and avoid foreclosure on their homes, so that feels great."

Monday marked the first time offers have been made to non-MGM Mirage employees in the CityCenter hiring process. Most internal MGM Mirage job offers already have been discussed with current employees, a CityCenter spokesperson said Friday.

Internal employees will make up close to a third of CityCenter’s positions. The openings that internal employees have created at other MGM Mirage properties will be filled throughout the year.

Selma Gluhbegovic, a poker dealer at the Bellagio, saw the hiring effort at CityCenter as an opportunity to get a full-time job within MGM Mirage. She currently works part-time at the Bellagio, also owned by MGM Mirage.

“It’s very much a relief to have a full-time job,” she said. “I’m very excited about it.”

The new position as a poker dealer at Aria will include health benefits and 401k, which factored into her decision, Gluhbegovic said.

Jessica Hemauer made the drive from San Diego this morning to accept a position as a concierge supervisor at Aria. She held a similar position at a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills but found herself out of work this past May.

“It was unfortunate because I was the one having to lay people off and then I was the one in the office,” Hemauer said.

Like many resorts on the Strip, high-end hotels around the country are experiencing lower visitor volumes and declines in consumer spending. As a result, Hemauer said she felt her job in California might have been in jeopardy.

“I don’t want to say I was ready but it didn’t come as a surprise because we all see what’s going on in the economy, especially at luxury hotels,” she said. “You see that people aren’t traveling as much as they were. You see that occupancy is down.”

The job search also gave Hemauer the chance to re-evaluate her career.

“You take a few steps back and think ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?’ Through all the interviews, I had that in mind. But I do. I still have my passion,” she said.

Positions still are being filled at Mandarin Oriental. The non-gaming hotel held two job fairs last week along with another on Saturday to fill more than 500 positions.

Vdara Hotel will kick off CityCenter’s opening on Dec. 1, with the Crystals retail and entertainment district on Dec. 3, Mandarin Oriental on Dec. 4 and Aria Dec. 16. The Harmon will open in late 2010.

Petlyn said the company is being cautious in its hiring to avoid having layoffs if business were to decline because of the economy.

“We don’t subscribe to that formula,” he said. “These are all permanent positions.”

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