Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Bucks Honor Incarcerated Work Program Graduates

Milwaukee Bucks offered a 'life changing experience' for six incarcerated men.

By - Apr 17th, 2024 12:51 pm

(Left to Right) Rodrick Cureton, Antonio Rodriguez, Peter Feigin and County Executive David Crowley. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

The Milwaukee Bucks honored six men Tuesday who have completed a work program with the organization while incarcerated at the county’s Community Rehabilitation Center (CRC).

Beginning in October, the six men were given an opportunity to leave the correctional facility during the day to work in various capacities at the Fiserv Forum and Deer District. This was the second year for the program, which was created to provide work experience to people while they are still incarcerated. Last year it had two graduates, this year six.

Bucks officials went to the CRC and interviewed a few dozen candidates, said Rodrick Cureton, Bucks diversity, equity and inclusion outreach manager.

The ceremony Tuesday marked the end of the program, but not the end of their employment with the Bucks. All six were offered full-time jobs.

“Being able to start and finish this program has been a life changing experience,” said Johnny Clark.

The six participants were chosen by Bucks officials who interviewd candidates at the CRC, and the program allowed them to rotate and gain experience in a variety of jobs at the Fiserv Forum, Cureton said.

“So they had the opportunity to work with lots of different departments in our arena, including housekeeping, retail, [arena use] conversion, operations and guest experience,” Cureton said. “And they supported all Bucks games, Marquette games, events, you name it, they were there.”

Clark was joined in this program by Qiandre Beene-Hart, Charles Johnson, Jeremy Sanford, Antonio Rodriquez and Angelo McCaleb. Both Sanford and Johnson were released from the CRC before the program was completed, but still returned each day for work, Cureton said.

“I know I was headed back to the streets,” Clark said, “but honestly that part of me died the moment this program showed me a different direction.”

County Executive David Crowley attended the ceremony and said programs like the Bucks partnership, and others, at the CRC are critical to helping county residents reintegrate economically and socially back into their communities. He also encouraged the six program graduates to look forward and not dwell on past mistakes.

“You can’t get points for yesterday’s game but you can continue to move forward and up and give back to this community,” Crowley said. “So I’m looking forward to seeing all that you all have in store for your lives and this community.”

One of the participants, Rodriguez, initially viewed the program as an opportunity to make some money to support his family, he said. “Once I got to see what really goes on here, I realized this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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