As Syracuse Tries To Build Tech Economy, Stakeholders Are Bringing People Together

Nov 27, 2019

People gathered at the Community Folk Art Center to begin discussing how to make Syracuse's technology focus inclusive.
Credit Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

Syracuse is one of five winners from across the country of a $3 millon grant to create a more inclusive tech economy. This coupled with the Microsoft agreement to make Syracuse its first Smart City in the North East and Mayor Ben Walsh’s focus on the Syracuse Surge project continues to push the area forward in its technology goals.

But all of this movement can be hard for disadvantaged community members to keep up. So, CenterStateCEO is starting to bring people together in preparation for expected changes. 

Technology-based economies can change a city’s identity and opportunity. They also have a reputation of creating or worsening inequality. So as Syracuse starts its push to become an emerging technology city, it’s trying to do it right.

Alvina Group Principal Consultant Kristin Mannion lead a conversation session with CenterstateCEO Director of Economic Inclusion Juhanna Rogers last week. They’re both part of the team implementing a $3 million grant from JP Morgan Chase to make tech sectors more inclusive. Other recipients of the grant include Miami, San Diego, and Louisville. 

Rodgers says in Syracuse, creating economic opportunities for everyone means meeting different people where they are. She wants to get out into the community and engage with people in places where they are comfortable.

Another big part of making sure people are included in technology-based economies is defining what tech means in this area. Mannion says it’s a broad definition, ranging from advanced manufacturing to full stack developing. 

One of their first events in the community will be a play about a black woman rocket scientist, “The Rise of Annie Easley and the Centaur Rocket.”  Following the play, there will be a panel discussion that features women of color who work in STEM, allowing the community to hear from local women involved in technology. The play and panel discussion are free and open to the public. They’ll both take place at the Tucker Church on December 10th.