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Diversity In Action

MGM Resorts seeks techies for creative and innovative posts

“With everything it takes to operate these buildings, there is almost no skill we can’t use somewhere,” says the HR VP. Exciting new tech jobs are opening up


'The unique thing about our business is that almost all our competitors are located on one street,” smiles Michelle DiTondo, senior vice president of human resources for MGM Resorts International (Las Vegas, NV). “Employee benefits, culture, and the value proposition are all important to us because everybody here is selling the same thing. People can change jobs, park two hundred yards away and work next door,” she says.

“All our properties are like small cities,” she says. “There’s everyone from IT professionals who do multimedia and cool technology to marketing and advertising people. Employees have non-traditional roles like horticulture and landscape design. Marine biologists work for us at Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and the Dolphin Habitat at Mirage.

“With everything it takes to operate these buildings, there is almost no skill we can’t use somewhere,” she says.

Creative tech needs are growing
“Our technology needs are evolving very quickly,” stresses DiTondo. “We’ve always had typical IT positions, but new and exciting positions are happening in our multimedia department. Sometimes it’s hard to find people to fill them.

“Multimedia does everything from graphic design for electronic signage to development of new apps for mobile technology. They put the menus and wine lists for our restaurants onto iPads. We’ve developed mobile apps for all our properties so you can make reservations but also tell us, ‘I’m at the pool,’ and we can send you specials for the pool bar.”

Last year, MGM Resorts International had eighty-seven IT hires companywide. Most tech professionals work for corporate; currently, 218 employees work in corporate IT.

“Another area of technology is database marketing,” DiTondo says. “Five years ago, we just sent out e-mail blasts to the millions of people who signed up for our loyalty club. Now we’re getting smarter about it. We know when you were here last, where you stayed, what you did, and when you’re coming again, so the marketing is much more targeted.

“We have our own television channel providing in-room service. We have directors, cameramen, and script writers who do our commercials. Video production is all they do.”

Diversity & inclusion includes a show
DiTondo notes that MGM Resorts was the first gaming company to have a diversity initiative. “Among all our employees, thirty-seven percent are Caucasian, thirty percent Hispanic, fifteen percent Asian and twelve percent African American. The balance is a mix of other diversities.

“Seven years ago, we started our diversity champion workshop, mandatory for all supervisors and above. We’ve trained over 11,000 leaders in employee engagement and treating each other with respect,” she says.

“Last December, we trained 40,000 employees on corporate social responsibility. Since we are an entertainment company, we put on a full-scale arena production at Mandalay Bay called Inspiring Our World, with nine shows in three days! Not many companies could do something like that.

“We’re a diverse company, particularly for women,” she says. “Forty percent of our vice presidents are women. We have women in leading roles like property presidents and CFOs. We have two women property presidents, one of whom was the first female property president on the Las Vegas Strip. In this industry, vice presidents of table games are typically not women; we have three. We also have the first woman executive chef on the Strip working at Mandalay Bay.

“We have some informal groups and activities that we want to formalize this year. One we started last year was a program for veterans called Boots to Business, in partnership with the American Red Cross. We asked the Red Cross to conduct on-site reconnection workshops with new-hire veterans, and we assigned each one an MGM Resorts employee who is also a veteran to act as a mentor. The new-hire veterans learn our business while the Red Cross handles transition skills.”

Reaching diverse students face-to-face and on Facebook
MGM Resorts has an extensive college recruitment program. “Our college trainee program, called MAP (Management Associate Program), has been around for over twenty years. We bring in students for a year of on-the-job training. They form a cohort and get to know each other really well.”

The company also runs a summer Hospitality Internship Program (HIP). “We go to the same colleges for both HIP and MAP,” DiTondo says. “We are launching an executive associate program made up of MBA graduates.

“We look at big schools, ones with hospitality programs and with active ‘minorities in hospitality’ programs (National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, NSMH, Chesterfield, VA). We attend career fairs and meet with their NSMH student organizations,” she says.

“We also go to historically black colleges and universities. Last year, we went to Howard University, Bowie State and Morgan State.” And when recruiting for its MBA program, MGM Resorts draws from the top business schools.

Conferences provide another key recruiting arena. “We attend the NSMH conference, and the National Black MBA Association, National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and National Association of Asian MBAs conferences. We also participate in conferences sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza.”

MGM Resorts International has had great success with social media. “Our college relations program has a really active Facebook page called MGM Resorts International College Programs. We try to show students what the MAP is like, so we have current associates blog about their experiences and share pictures and information.

“Our diversity initiative is really a cornerstone of who we are as a company and it’s woven throughout everything we do,” DiTondo declares.

D/C




www.mgmresorts.com

Headquarters: Las Vegas, NV
Employees: 62,000
Revenues: 9.2 billion (2012)
Business: Global hospitality: destination resort brands including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and the Mirage

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