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Howard Stutz

Job seekers grateful CityCenter is now hiring

22 September 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Timothy C. Nyepanh left his job in housekeeping at the MGM Grand in February 2007 and moved to Georgia, where family could care for him after he underwent surgery.

Little did he realize it would take more than two years to land another job in Las Vegas. The recession and falling profits resulted in massive layoffs and reduced work hours throughout the gaming industry.

So when the telephone call came a week ago that Nyepanh had been hired for one of 9,200 jobs at the Aria inside the massive $8.5 billion CityCenter complex, he didn't hesitate to book an early flight to Las Vegas. He didn't want to be late for his 1 p.m. appointment Monday.

"I came back Sunday," Nyepanh said, who was hired as a casino porter. "I applied online a year ago. This was my dream to come back."

Nyepanh's story was similar to other peoples' stories on Monday inside the CityCenter Career Center on Industrial Road.

Hundreds of workers throughout the day came in to fill out paperwork after they learned they had landed a position at Aria, the CityCenter's centerpiece, 4,004-room hotel-casino, or one of 800 jobs at Vdara, a 1,500-room nongaming hotel.

Over the past year, more than 160,000 people filled out applications for jobs at CityCenter, which includes 500 positions at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and 1,500 jobs at Crystals, the development's 500,000-square-foot dining, retail and entertainment complex.

Veer Towers, CityCenter's residential component, is expected to hire a few hundred workers.

Roughly 20,000 current MGM Mirage employees filled out CityCenter applications, and about 4,000 won positions at either Aria or Vdara.

Michael Peltyn, CityCenter's vice president of human resources, said another round of hiring will take place in October to fill positions vacated by MGM Mirage workers at the company's nine Strip resorts who accepted jobs at CityCenter.

"Hopefully, some of the people who applied for CityCenter jobs but were unsuccessful will be interested in other positions at our other resorts," Peltyn said.

Meanwhile, priority was given to former MGM Mirage workers who had been laid off since the recession began.

Peltyn said it will take a few weeks to determine how many former MGM Mirage workers returned to the company's fold. Also, he said it will take time to determine how many currently unemployed workers found jobs with CityCenter.

You can add Adriana Vargas to that list. She was laid off from jobs at Paris Las Vegas in December and at the M Resort in July. Vargas found out Friday she had a job in the food and beverage department at Aria.

"I think I was one of the last ones on the list so I consider myself pretty lucky," she said.

Fernando Garcia, who landed a job in housekeeping at Aria, has spent a year working temporary jobs around the Las Vegas Valley. The full-time position will be his first in more than 12 months.

"It's tough. Every two weeks it's something new," he said. "This was good news."

Vdara will open Dec. 1 followed by Crystals two days later. Mandarin Oriental will open Dec. 4, and Aria will be unveiled on Dec. 16.

Peltyn said positions will be filled through the end of this month with orientation starting in October. Most of the jobs will begin in November with training programs once workers are allowed onto the CityCenter complex.

He said MGM Mirage is hiring "what we believe will be the right level of staffing." As such, he said jobs will not be scaled back after the opening.

The size of the CityCenter required large numbers of workers to fill several categories.

MGM Mirage will employ 4,280 food and beverage workers for the restaurants at Aria and Vdara.

More than 1,300 gaming workers, including dealers, floor supervisors, slot technicians and guest services representatives will staff Aria's casino, the only gambling component at CityCenter.