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The work begins to hire local for I-81 renovation

A person stands outside holding a cardboard sign that says, "We want local hire."
John Smith
A person stands outside holding a cardboard sign that says, "We want local hire."

The New York Department of Transportation held an information session on Thursday to discuss available apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs for the I-81 project.

The state and the city are offering training to get people ready for needed construction work on I-81. The redesign of the highway and community grid project will create jobs. Still, everyone from Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh to other local workforce partners wants to ensure citizens have a fair chance of getting hired.

Director of Syracuse Build at CNY Works Christopher Montgomery said anyone from beginners to all skill levels could join in the discussions and free training.

“Are they someone that's coming in entirely green, who wants to be connected with training opportunities and then allow us to be able to follow them?” Montgomery said. "Or is it someone that just needs connection with different employers and understanding what the levels of investment are and what the opportunities are?”  

Montgomery said he was impressed by the turnout for the first session on Thursday. He said some attendees graduated from the Syracuse Build Initiative and are now actively seeking work, but others may be newcomers.

“I’m just focused on continuing to get the word out that these opportunities do exist for our local residents to be able to engage with training providers and apprenticeship programs and be able to learn what opportunities actually exist for them, for projects like I-81," Montgomery said.

Montgomery feels career and technical education students in the Syracuse City School District are possible candidates for future jobs like the I-81 project. The following state DOT local hire program overview will be held on Friday at 9:30 p.m. at Toomey Abbott Towers at Almond Street; registration for the event is now open.

For future and current I-81 jobs, visit the Department of Transportation website.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.