New year, new careers bring hope for MGM National Harbor employees

Angelica Allen, right, stands with Tiana Johnson, left, inside the MGM National Harbor casino. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Two dealers who work at MGM National Harbor, Tiana Johnson (right) and Angelica Allen (left) stand inside the casino. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Angelia Allen, mother of three, took a chance and signed up last for a dealer school that was being co-run by MGM and Prince George's Community College. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Before she became a dealer, Tiana Johnson says she was sitting in an executive assistant job that she felt had no future.   (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Before she became a dealer, 28-year-old Tiana Johnson was sitting in an executive assistant job that she felt had no future. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Angelica Allen, mother of three, took a chance and signed up last for a dealer school that was being co-run by MGM and Prince George’s Community College. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
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Angelica Allen, right, stands with Tiana Johnson, left, inside the MGM National Harbor casino. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Angelia Allen, mother of three, took a chance and signed up last for a dealer school that was being co-run by MGM and Prince George's Community College. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)
Before she became a dealer, 28-year-old Tiana Johnson was sitting in an executive assistant job that she felt had no future. (WTOP/Michelle Murillo)

WASHINGTON — The opening of MGM National Harbor brought with it a lot of jobs, and for some, what they hope will be very prosperous new careers for the New Year and beyond.

MGM National Harbor has around 4,000 employees; 1,000 of those workers are in the gaming department. Additionally, 48 percent of the resort’s workforce is from Prince George’s County.

“I’m not a gambler,” said Angelica Allen, a dealer at the MGM casino and resort. “I knew nothing about the layout, how to move around, how to count, nothing.”

You wouldn’t know it, watching her deal out a round of Blackjack, calling the cards as they hit the table.

The mother of three took a chance and signed up for a dealer school that was being co-run by MGM and Prince George’s Community College.

“I signed up for the last day that they were holding a job fair for the gaming classes,” Allen said. “I signed up on a Friday and the classes started on Monday.”

Taking those classes, and doing well, landed her a job in the new casino — and she couldn’t be happier.

“It was a huge change. Where I was, nothing was going on. I saw opportunity for growth here and it was a challenge,” she said.

She’s already making more money as a dealer than she did at her last job, but Allen says she’s not stopping at there. She has her sights set higher up the career ladder.

“All the way up to pit manager, I want to say five years,” she said.

Tiana Johnson is also excited to be embarking on a new career.

Before she became a dealer, the 28-year-old was working an executive assistant job that she felt had no future.

“I needed a change from the corporate scene, and I’m a people person, so I wanted to be near the action. That’s how I decided to make a career move,” Johnson said.

Not to mention, she wanted a job that was more demanding. “Corporate stopped being challenging,” she said. “As an executive assistant I didn’t feel challenged anymore. With table games and a new career and a new department it was something new and something exciting and very challenging. If you take a day in a craps class, very challenging.”

As Johnson faces the new year, she believes this is just the beginning.

“There’s opportunity everywhere, and there’s a lot of people that are rooting for you within the company,” she said. “The sky’s the limit.”

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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