Applications Roll in for 12,000 New Jobs in Las Vegas

That includes Las Vegas resident Ron Kirby, who has been out of work for five months now. The former senior vice president at a collections agency has now applied for hundreds of jobs.

"I'm on the computer every day looking for job opportunities," he said. "... I've got head hunters in five different states looking for me."

Kirby seemed happy with his initial interview at CityCenter. And Smith-Philips also seemed pleased with her first round.

Now the people doing the initial question-and-answer sessions have a tough job ahead of them: picking who will advance to the next round.

CityCenter Faces Big Expenses

Although the MGM Mirage is over-budget and, some say, overly ambitious with its sprawling CityCenter complex, managers say they are not slowing down.

Like most big ideas in this town, it began with a bang as the old Boardwalk Hotel gave way to a golden piece of real estate in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

"There isn't anything close to this big anywhere in the United States," said Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Mirage.

The CityCenter, one of the most expensive projects of its kind, now faces a deepening recession amid cost overruns and safety concerns as construction crews suffer a series of accidents while racing to complete the massive complex.

CityCenter's investors have needed gigantic cash infusions and have been forced to sell other assets just to keep it alive.

"Our bottom line will have to be altered because clearly, the prices we're going to get for things aren't what they were when we started projecting things out," Feldman said.

But he's not backing down from the 12,000 jobs.

That's good news for Smith-Philips, who explained that things are growing steadily worse as she falls behind on her bills.

Running Out of Options

"I lost my truck about a week ago," she said. "It got repo-ed. I couldn't keep the notes up so it's getting pretty tight."

Kirby is restless, too. The former six-figure VP says he has plenty of savings but is eager for the chance to prove himself again. To do so, he says, he has lowered his expectations and is looking for work in different parts of the country. During these times, it's especially important, he says, to remain optimistic.

"You have to go in with a smile, you have to be upbeat, you can't let it get you down," he said. "You are defeating yourself if you let it get you down."

By nightfall, new applicants are still headed inside the makeshift job center, hoping that with 12,000 openings, the odds on this jackpot would be pretty good.

But, as anyone in Las Vegas will tell you, there are no sure bets, not on the jobs, or even on the glimmering CityCenter itself. Not until the doors are open, the lights are on and the tourists start coming back.

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