Syracuse and CenterState CEO Receive $500,000 Grant from Microsoft

Posted on April 28, 2022

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Press Release Website Graphic Microsoft Grant 4.29.22 (reduced)

Grant will help foster digital literacy, support entrepreneurship, small businesses and workforce training for digital industries

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and CenterState CEO announced they have received a $500,000 Skills for Jobs and Livelihoods grant from Microsoft Philanthropies. A team representing Microsoft, including Naria Santa Lucia, GM, Digital Inclusion and U.S. Community Engagement at Microsoft Philanthropies, met with Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and partners from CenterState CEO to discuss how community impact will be driven through the grant.

"Microsoft Philanthropies is making another major investment in the Syracuse Surge," said Mayor Walsh. "This is public-private collaboration at its very best. With this grant funding, the City of Syracuse and its Syracuse Surge collaborators will give more city residents the skills and abilities they need to build successful careers in the New Economy. I am deeply grateful to Microsoft for its early and consistent commitment to the Syracuse Surge and to the people of the City of Syracuse."

CenterState CEO will partner with the City of Syracuse, under the Syracuse Surge initiative to foster digital equity by enabling residents to increase their digital skills and better navigate online services; gain access to career pathways in software-related fields and launch and grow companies. Programs funded by the grant will focus on members of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, as well as women.

“By expanding access to digital skills, supporting small businesses, and accelerating the startup ecosystem, we are expanding opportunity,” said Naria Santa Lucia, Microsoft General Manager for Digital Inclusion and U.S. Community Engagement. "We are excited to work with the Syracuse community to drive digital literacy and workforce training programs needed for in-demand jobs.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Microsoft for this investment in our community, which will enable us to better connect talent to the tech skills and resources that are critical to the jobs and economy of the future,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “Through this investment we can advance the intentional strategies and collaborative initiatives needed to ensure more members of our community have access to opportunities in a competitive digital economy.”

Investments Made through Microsoft will Support:

Digital Literacy Programming: Solutions will be implemented through digital equity and inclusion programming for Syracuse city residents that address key community needs.

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development:  Support will advance programs, including the Surge Accelerator and Surge for Small Business, led by CenterState CEO and aligned with the city’s Syracuse Surge strategy.  

New Economy (Tech) Workforce Training: Investments will support the development of programs in coding, software and digital customer service.

These investments will also continue work funded by JP Morgan Chase AdvancingCities and the American Rescue Plan Act.

About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving. www.centerstateceo.com

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