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57.6 F
San Diego
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Building a Life After Military

Military veterans around the county are finding promising career prospects with the building trades industry, thanks to the Carlsbad-based Helmets to Hardhats, a program designed to ease the transition into civilian life.

This building trades initiative is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment. The U.S. Army administers the funding, which was made available in January 2003.

Here’s how the program works:

Helmets to Hardhats collects info on desirable job prospects in the lucrative building and construction trades, offering support services to men and women in the armed forces who register for the program.

These vets then browse through the careers listed on the Web site, indicate their interest for a particular field, and may post messages on the forum to hook up with a mentor. The Helmets staff also is on hand to guide them through the process.

Most of the applicants will end up in a four-year apprenticeship program, combining classes and work. Among the perks is a benefit plan, wages that are about half a journeyman’s, and possible GI benefits to qualified vets. After that, it’s on to a full journeyman classification and, presumably, the start of a solid career in the building trades.

“By virtue of serving in the military, they get special consideration,” said the program’s executive director, Matt Caulfield, a retired major general in the Marine Corps. “It’s a tremendous benefit.”

And, he added, these jobs bring “terrific pay and great benefits.”

“Lifetime earnings are the equivalent of what college grads make, and it’s a wonderful alternative to college,” he said. “It fits very well with those coming out of the armed forces, where you learn to do A,B,C to get promoted. It’s the same with this.”

The level of expertise for these jobs is stringent, said Caulfield.

“These aren’t people cracking rocks in a ditch,” he said. “They are trained for the best trades in the industry. These are bright kids.”

Helmets to Hardhats is gaining in popularity across the country, with more than 11,000 candidates registered in California alone , and, said Caulfield, not a moment too soon.

“The infrastructure of the United States cannot be maintained over the next 10 years,” he said. “The most critical factor is a skilled work force. It’s not about technology or money, but skilled people in the trades to do the work that will maintain the infrastructure.”

Art Lujan, business manager for the San Diego Building Trades Council, agreed.

“It’s an absolutely fabulous program,” he said. “These are the types of individuals who will help develop the work force of the future for the building industry. They have a fabulous work ethic. It’s a win-win for everybody , the departing vets, the apprenticeship program and the employers in the industry. It’s up to us to expand and enhance it, and make sure we are touching base with everyone who has an interest.”

– – –

Rental Report:

Occupancy rates should remain high in San Diego County’s apartment market, thanks to rising rental demand and a shortage of new supply, according to Hendricks & Partners’ 2006-2007 market forecast.

Some tidbits:

– Apartment vacancies will experience a moderate decline this year, reaching the mid-4 percent range by the close of 2006, with the North County Coastal and North County/78 Corridor sub-markets showing the most improvement.

– As the local rental market gains traction, due to a slowing pace of construction and mounting demand, local apartment owners should see the average vacancy rate hover near the 4.6 percent market through 2007, while average rental rates continue to steadily rise.

– The local condo-conversion trend, which has fueled rising apartment values in recent years, has eased, along with the overall slowdown under way in the region’s for-sale residential real estate market.

Sales of converted units fell by roughly a third last year, while the inventory of unsold units rose nearly 30 percent. Finished conversion projects have been sitting on the market nearly 25 percent longer, while owners have had to add incentives to potential buyers.

Hendricks reports that the diverse local economy will spur growth in the next two years, as the area continues to emerge as a leader in the defense, biotech and finance industries.

– With “healthy gains” in the education/health services, tourism and leisure/hospitality sectors, Hendricks forecasts that non-farm employment in the San Diego metro area will increase by 1.5 percent in 2006, and 1.3 percent in 2007, adding nearly 50,000 jobs in the next two years.

– San Diego’s telecommunications industry remains poised for considerable growth through 2007, as well, with nearly 15,000 jobs expected to be created during the next two years.

As a result of a lull in residential development, the local construction sector appears to be the only industry with slowing future employment growth, according to the report.

– – –

Up North:

The April median price for all homes in North County , single-family detached and single-family attached , was $555,000, down from $565,000 in March.

Some other tidbits from the North San Diego County Association of Realtors’ HomeDex report for April:

– The median-priced single-family detached home in North County was $623,000 in April, down from $625,000 in March, while elsewhere in the county, SFD median prices again rose slightly from $543,250 in March to $549,750 in April.

– SFD prices were highest in Rancho Santa Fe, at $3.9 million (92091), and $3.2 million (92067), with prices exceeding $1 million in the areas of Del Mar, Bonsall and Solana Beach.

Only three ZIP codes in North County , Vista (92083), Escondido (92027) and Ramona (92065) , reported median SFD prices below $500,000.

– The median-priced single-family attached home in North County fell from $400,000 in March to $396,650 in April, while prices in other San Diego County markets rose from $370,000 to $378,080.

– Again, prices were highest in Rancho Santa Fe, at $1.1 million, followed by Cardiff, Solana Beach and Del Mar in the $700,000s. Only areas in Escondido and San Marcos reported SFA prices under $300,000.

– – –

Big Deals:

A few San Diego-based companies have made some lucrative deals outside their home turf.

The Allen Group, a developer of office and industrial properties, has acquired 107 acres of commercial land in Kern County, adjacent to the entrance of Meadows Field Airport, billed as the fastest-growing airport in the western United States.

The company is developing a master site plan, which will feature Class A office space, food and beverage and lodging facilities, light industrial flex space, retail, and some airport-related uses.

The Allen Group announced this month that it had completed construction of a building now available for occupancy at the International Trade and Transportation Center. This 700-acre master-planned logistics park is located in the southern San Joaquin Valley and has been designated as a foreign trade zone affiliated with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The San Diego-based Shidler Group has purchased the 31-story US Bank Center and supporting parking and retail space in downtown Phoenix from Bankam, LLC, and 101 North First Parking, LLC, for $66.2 million.

Meanwhile, closer to home, RREEF has acquired the Mitchell International Building in San Diego from Hibiscus Investments. An 81,881-square-foot, two-story office building, 100 percent leased to Mitchell, is located in the Scripps Ranch sub-market along the Interstate 15 Corridor. Louay Alsadek of Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial represented RREEF in the deal.

LBA Realty has purchased a 112,000-square-foot office building in Scripps Ranch for $23.2 million. The real estate and management company plans to offer the building for lease.

Burnham Real Estate’s Tom van Betten and Mike Demko represented the buyer, as well as the seller, K-M Management.

– – –

Going Up:

San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye and Jim Krause, the chairman of the board of Mission Valley YMCA, on May 9 broke ground on a swimming pool there.

As chairwoman of the City Council’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee, and the San Diego River Conservancy, Frye has been working with the YMCA to make sure that plans for the pool protect the San Diego River.

The pool is scheduled for completion in early April.

Jackson Pendo Development, a San Diego-based real estate developer, recently announced four new home communities under way. They are Mosaic and Windstone, both in Escondido; Starling in San Marcos; and Mirabelle in National City.

The Windstone homes start in the $900,000s, while the others start in the $500,000s.

The Gateway Family Apartments broke ground in Barrio Logan on May 10, another recent example of affordable housing in the city. The $15 million project, expected to be completed in spring 2007, will provide 42 for-rent, two- and three-bedroom apartments for families earning between 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income.

– – –

Moving In:

The law offices of Leo Sullivan, specializing in business and real estate law, have signed a lease to join the office district of Liberty Station, being built on the grounds of the former Naval Training Center in Point Loma.

Sullivan is moving his practice from Downtown San Diego to a 1,373-square-foot new office at 2468 Historic Decatur Road. He will join Gnostech, Inc., Telisimo International Corp. and the Triwest Healthcare Alliance in the same building. Another San Diego law firm, Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, signed a lease late last year for 15,000 square feet at 2488 Historic Decatur Road.

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