Reno retail center gets facelift with the help of Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center students | nnbw.com

Reno retail center gets facelift with the help of Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center students

Annie Conway | aconway@nnbw.biz

The retail center just south of the Plumb Lane and South Virginia Street intersection is in the process of getting an upgrade.

Orchard Plaza Shopping Center, located at 2293-2303 So. Virginia St. behind the El Pollo Loco and Black Bear Diner, is in the finishing stages of remodeling and modernizing the façade of the two retail buildings that make up the center.

The plaza is managed by Coldwell Banker Commercial Business Properties. There are currently 13 occupied spaces in the retail center and two vacant spaces. According to Kimberly Clark, director of commercial property management for the company, construction on the renovations started back in July of 2016. The center was built in the late 1970s and was much in need of improvements.

While the remodeling of retail centers throughout the region has started to become a trend for owners to attract and retain tenants, this particular project has a unique aspect to it.

Coldwell Banker Commercial partnered with Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center to give nearly a dozen students the opportunity to get hands-on construction experience while also paying the students for their work. The students worked under the supervision of Coldwell Banker Commercial's in-house General Contractor, GPS Property Maintenance & Construction LLC.

"It was inspirational," Randy Young, general contractor for GPS Property Maintenance, said. "They were very eager to work."

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Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program for low-income individuals between the ages of 16-24 and who have no criminal record. The program is federally funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The program is for people "who want to get ahead in life," Mark Huntley, business and community liaison for Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center, said.

He explained that many of the students in the program come from single-family homes or grew up in the foster care system and cannot afford to pursue higher educational opportunities. There are 127 Job Corps campuses across the nation with at least one in every state. Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center is the only Job Corp in Nevada. Job Corps is the most successful Department of Labor funded job-training program in the United States.

"Nine out of 10 of the students get jobs after they finish the program," Huntley said.

They offer 15 trades including culinary arts, electrical, office administration, hotel and lodging, automotive, medical administrative assistant and more. It is a two-year program that also provides students free housing, food and medical care.

"For a lot of kids it is a sanctuary," Huntley said.

There are currently 410 students in the Sierra Nevada Job Corps. Seventy percent of the students are from southern Nevada and 30 percent of students are from northern Nevada.

Huntley explained that partnering with local businesses such as Coldwell Banker Commercial Business Properties provides them with an opportunity to not only gain hands-on experience but to also reinforce their work ethic and becoming part of the community.

"They are extremely proud of it," Huntley said about the students who worked on the Orchard's Plaza remodel.

"I was very impressed," Clark said about the work the Job Corps students did.

Clark hopes that other northern Nevada construction companies will get involved with Job Corps.

"To help these young men and women is really important," Clark said. "We want to challenge other construction companies to get involved as well."

Construction on the Orchard Plaza Shopping Center is scheduled to be completed no later than Nov. 15. They have also contracted Alpine Roofing to redo the roofs and Sierra Nevada Construction, Inc. to overlay the asphalt at a later date.

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