According local Sacramento, California ABC news station KXTV. Construction on the new Kings arena is already revitalizing downtown Sacramento, and in the process, changing the fortunes of some longtime Sacramentans through its priority apprentice program.
The priority apprentice program is looking to put 70 Sacramento residents to work in the construction of the arena. To qualify, applicants need to either meet the criteria as a "priority" worker – on public assistance, former foster youth, homeless, ex-offender or veteran, or live in one of the 11 designated zip codes.
Brandon Gallow, who grew up in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, says the program has given him a path to professional success.
"For the most part it’s an economically depressed part of town. Run down, most people on drugs. You don’t see anybody get up and punch the clock so to speak. The future was bleak, you don’t see many success stories," Gallow explained.
After working a series of what he refers to as dead-end jobs, Gallow, 31, and his older brother Marcus entered a pre-apprentice program at Northern California Construction Training (NCCT). NCCT, along with the American River College STRIPE program, helps prepare workers for the Kings’ priority apprentice program.
Gallow said both brothers were doing well – until Marcus’s new career was quickly derailed.
"He went out and visited a friend and it was a seedy neighborhood. I guess someone tried to rob him for his car, and he was shot ten times," Gallow said.
Marcus became a quadriplegic, confined to life in a wheelchair. Gallow said the experience served as a wakeup call.
"Failure is not an option. When I’m out there, I often think he would be right by me working hand by hand. So it gave me a lot of determination, will and drive to make this work," he said.
That determination is paying off. On Saturday, Gallow graduated from the program at NCCT. He’s now working full-time as a pipefitting apprentice at the arena construction site, with hopes of eventually becoming a journeyman, or a foreman.
And though his work on the site may be done in March of next year, Gallow says he’s confident the training has prepared him for future construction work.
"I would love to help in building the Sacramento skyline. I know another hotel is coming up, so if I can lend a hand in improving Sacramento – I’m a Sacramentan, I would love to do it," he said.
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