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SUNY Educational Opportunity Center in Syracuse to expand its training capacity

Syracuse Surge EOC Building
John Smith
Syracuse Surge EOC Building

The SUNY Educational Opportunity Center in Syracuse hoped to expand its training capacity by adding new trades and an advanced manufacturing lab. A recent $1.7 million commitment by the city could help pave the way for people to get jobs in key industries.

Syracuse EOC is now waiting for the state to approve this project and provide $6.5 million for it. This comes after the city and county raised a combined $3.5 million for a facility that is expected to bolster the local workforce. Syracuse EOC Vice President Tim Penix said they will be ready to train for a variety of jobs.

“We’d be looking to produce or have training components for advanced manufacturing, CDL license training," Penix said. "We intend to have some renewable energy training that will go on there. It’s applied trades lab. The whole idea is for it to be flexible in that the lab, the training itself won’t be totally dedicated to just one thing because the economy shifts.”

For example, there is a JMA Wireless 5G plant about to open just south of downtown Syracuse, and the county is trying to court a major microchip manufacturer. Councilor Pat Hogan said having a prepared workforce is essential.

“When a company comes into town, you know we’re on a definite competitive advantage if you make statements and they see a history of the government and business advancing along a path of this type of technology and the training for this type of technology,” Hogan said.

The new EOC facility could train at least 300 students per year as soon as it opens. Tim Penix said the lab could also train workers for some upcoming construction projects in the Syracuse area.

“The biggest things that are happening right now is 81 [Interstate 81 viaduct project]," Penix said. "Also, there are some potential other really large-scale projects that may be coming into Syracuse. They’re also construction related.”

Penix said they could break ground on the project as early as the spring of 2023, and start classes either that fall or at the start of 2024.