A man who had been homeless on the streets of Sacramento, California, says he has the local NBA team to thank for his new career in construction, which has led to an already improved quality of life. Eric Martinez is one of the heavy equipment operators helping to build the new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings.
As part of the construction, the team partnered with local leaders to promote careers in the building trades.
The team's Community Workforce Pipeline - a program launched earlier this year - is designed specifically to help those in need transition into construction careers. In a news release, the team said, "The Apprenticeship Program is an unprecedented collaboration of several organizations, including the Kings, Turner Construction, the Sacramento-Sierra Building Trades, the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), the City of Sacramento, and the Community Workforce Pipeline member organizations: the Greater Sacramento Urban League, Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT), the Center for Employment Training (CET), Asian Resource Center and La Familia.”
“A lot of people are in need and I guess (the Kings) have seen that need and they came to the rescue, I guess you can say,” Martinez told Fox 40 Television. He can now afford a home, a new car and has recently married.
When the Workforce Pipeline was first announced, Sacramento Mayor Kevin John was hopeful that we'd all see the kinds of stories now playing out for Martinez and others in his situation.
“I am thrilled to see the Kings launching this important program,” Johnson said. “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.”
“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,” said Kings President Chris Granger.
Martinez, by the way, said he wants to pursue a career as an architect in the future.