While the Clippers Battle Race Stigma, the Kings are Getting Minority Workers Into Union Apprenticeships

Sacramento Mayor and former Phoenix Suns all-star, Kevin Johnson.Last Wednesday, the Sacramento Kings held a training and outreach session with the Community Workforce Pipeline (CWP) to finalize plans for a Priority Apprenticeship Program that will seek to employ 70 apprentices during the construction of the Kings new $477 million arena. Most eligible workers will come from high-need backgrounds and neighborhoods. 

The CWP, an alliance of community and religious groups, helped the Kings determine the criteria for these classifications along with the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), Turner Construction, the Sacramento-Sierra Building Trades, and the City of Sacramento.

According to a team press release apprentices can begin their journey via two different pathways:

1. Priority Workers pathway: Open to all residents of the City of Sacramento who meet two or more of the following criteria: low-income, food stamps/public assistance recipient, former foster youth, homeless, veteran and/or ex-offender.

• 2. Priority Zip Code pathway: Open to all residents of the following zip codes identified by SETA has having the highest poverty rates in the City and immediate vicinity: 95652, 95660, 95811, 95814, 95815, 95817, 95820, 95823, 95824, 95832 and 95838.

Individuals seeking to enter the program will have to meet the specific criteria of each trade as determined by the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council. Those who qualify will either join a union apprenticeship or a job training program:

Once confirmed by SETA as eligible for the program, Priority Apprentices will either enter directly into various union apprenticeship programs affiliated with the Sacramento-Sierra Building Trades, if ready, or first enroll in one of several pre-construction programs affiliated with SETA/Sacramento Works, including the Northern California Construction Training Program (NCCT), American River College Project’s STRIPE program, and JobCorps. Priority Worker candidates may also be drawn from current applicants and enrollees in the Building Trade apprenticeship programs and aforementioned preconstruction programs who meet one or both of the Priority criteria.

During construction, the Building Trades and Turner Construction will work with ESC contractors and subcontractors to identify and dispatch Priority Apprentices to the ESC project site. At least 20 percent of all construction hours worked on the ESC project will be completed by apprentices. Turner will ensure contractor and subcontractor compliance with the Priority Apprenticeship Program and oversee tracking and reporting of the program’s progress.

As a further incentive, wage subsidies of up to $4,000 per worker will be available for the first 50 new apprentices hired to the ESC who meet the Priority Worker Criteria.

Sacramento mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson announced the program and addressed the positive impact the new arena will have on the community:

I am thrilled to see the Kings launching this important program. The Entertainment and Sports center has always been, first and foremost, about creating jobs for our community. We will succeed when the ESC transforms not only our downtown, but also the lives of those in Sacramento most in need of economic opportunity. The Priority Apprenticeship Program is a major step towards honoring both commitments.

Kings President Chris Granger echoed Johnson’s enthusiasm:

The Kings are proud to lead this extraordinary coalition of business, labor, government, community and faith leaders working to create quality jobs. Today is a great example of why this project is bigger than basketball. We are honored to be in a position to provide what could become a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for deserving individuals to launch a new career and pathway to the middle class.

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