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Syracuse Offering Workforce Training To Support City's 'Surge' Initiative


A series of job-training programs was launched today in Syracuse that might have better success leading actual employment once finished, thanks to area employers and outside financial help. The five career opportunities are part of Mayor Ben Walsh’s Syracuse Surge initiative. He says the new economy will be more tech-driven and internet-driven, so the right training can successfully get people employed. The SUNY Employment Opportunity Center is one partner. Vice President Tim Penix is starting a digital customer service training program.

“It is designed to meet the demands of hundreds of call-center and customer-service employees in our community," Penix said. "And when we focus on those individuals and bring them into the center, and help train them, we’re looking to prepare them for $30,000.00-a-year jobs. This digital customer-service program is a three-week paid program that will launch in January.”

Other training opportunities include advanced manufacturing, also hosted by SUNY EOC; Computer Coding Apprenticeships through various area tech employers; Cybersecurity fundamentals at Le Moyne College and others. CenterState CEO is among numerous collaborators. Workforce Innovation Director Aimee Durfee made sure steps were taken to ensure the training leads to a job.

“Start with the employers; we start with the jobs," Durfee said. "We ask the employers, 'who are you hiring for and what are the attributes … and skills that you’re looking for?’ And then really building that into the training itself. We also have a very specific focus on recruiting women and people of color into these programs and these jobs.”

The various trainings are designed to attract those who have typically been left out of other training opportunities or the economy in general. In addition to women and minorities, veterans will be recruited. Walsh says numerous companies have stepped up to participate, needing skilled employees. One other factor for success: almost a million dollars of ARPA pandemic funds and a three million dollar Chase bank grant support the Syracuse Surge training.Many of the programs have sign-up deadlines in December. More information can be found here.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.