Syracuse Build Receives National Attention for Driving Diverse and Skilled Infrastructure Workforce Solutions

Posted on July 18, 2022


Third Cohort Graduates Syracuse Build Pathways to Apprenticeship Construction Training Program

Program to prepare local workforce for jobs being created by I-81 and other infrastructure investments opens applications for rounds 4 &5

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse Build was recently highlighted by the White House in a press release on the administration’s American Rescue Plan investments. Syracuse and the Syracuse Build Pathways to Apprenticeship Program were cited among best practice examples of American Rescue Plan funding being used to invest in building a diverse and skilled infrastructure workforce.

“Syracuse Build’s ongoing effort to build a robust and inclusive workforce pipeline has made an important impact around the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, and neighboring counties across New York State,” said Christopher Montgomery, director of Syracuse Build. “The White House, and various states around the country rightfully recognize it as a model for building a diverse and skilled infrastructure workforce. Syracuse Build’s programs are diversifying the talent pipeline by training, placing, and retaining workers through construction related opportunities. We look forward to continuing this important work and creating necessary pathways for in-demand local careers in construction.”

Syracuse Build is a mayoral initiative, housed within CNY Works, supported by CenterState CEO's Work Train. The program has helped residents gain access to pre-apprenticeship programs and credentials in high-demand sectors, including construction, electrical mechanics, HVAC, advanced/high-tech manufacturing, commercial driving and software development.

“It is deeply rewarding to see the innovative workforce programming being done through Syracuse Build recognized on a national scale,” said Dominic Robinson, vice president of economic inclusion at CenterState CEO. “The programs led by Chris Montgomery and Pathways to Apprenticeship Program Manager Ebony Farrow, and supported by numerous partners, are creating pathways to real economic opportunities in high-demand jobs. Our hope is this recognition enables others to follow our blueprint and create meaningful programs to impact the lives of people in communities across the country.”

In addition to being recognized nationally for its innovative work, including being featured at the U.S. Department of Labor's Good Jobs Summit in Washington, D.C., Syracuse Build is also one of six programs invited to participate in the Federal Highway Administration’s Strategic Workforce Development Every Day Counts-6 program.

“As we celebrate another Syracuse Build Pathways to Apprenticeship class of graduates, I am grateful to the many partners who continue to invest in the program,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “The White House's recognition speaks to the ways in which our efforts to attract and train a diverse workforce have already begun making an impact in Syracuse and the region."

Syracuse Build’s signature program, Pathways to Apprenticeship, is driving progress in the community. On Friday, July 15, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, CenterState CEO, the Central and Northern New York Building & Construction Trades Council and other community partners celebrated the graduation of the program’s third class. All 14 graduates are currently working on union applications and testing. The 30 graduates from cohorts one and two have all been invited and/or accepted into union apprenticeship, union membership or a union bootcamp. This comprehensive apprenticeship readiness training program focuses on preparing women, people of color and veterans to help them gain access to the Building Trades’ registered apprenticeship programs. Eighteen people participated in the paid 11-week program that prepares local workforce for union apprenticeship, some of whom may find opportunities in the significant number of construction jobs being created by federal, state and local infrastructure investments including I-81.

“We know the Pathways program is directly impacting the lives of people in our community by giving them the tools they need to achieve their passion and potential,” said Ebony Farrow, program manager, Pathways to Apprenticeship. “It is rewarding to see people connect with this program and realize there is a place for them in construction. Their skills and experience bring value and new perspectives to this industry. I encourage women, especially women of color, to apply to Pathways and see how this program can support their goals.”

Throughout the Pathways to Apprenticeship program participants have gained physical and technical skills needed to be competitive and successfully apply to a registered union apprenticeship. Entering a union-sponsored registered apprenticeship can be highly competitive; throughout the program, participants received exclusive networking opportunities with local trade unions and coaching and preparation for the registered apprenticeship application process.

"The Central and Northern NY Building Trades Council is proud to partner with the Syracuse Build program," said Alan Marzullo, business manager and financial secretary for IBEW Local 43. "The foundation this program provides graduates will enable them to access well-paying union construction jobs. The skills they've developed will position them well as they pursue opportunities on the immediate horizon, and those well into the future. We look forward to working with Mayor Walsh, CenterState CEO, and all partners to connect more residence to the program and careers in Central New York.”

The Pathway to Apprenticeship program is a collaboration of the Central and Northern New York Building Trades Council (CNNYBTC), and Syracuse Build and teaches the nationally recognized North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Multi-Craft Core Curriculum.

Applications are now being accepted for a fourth cohort of the program, due Aug. 31. Successful candidates for the fourth class of the Pathways to Apprenticeship program will be notified by Oct. 21 and the program will run Nov. 1 to Jan. 20. Cohort 5 will begin accepting applications Oct. 2022. Training is tuition-free and accepted participants will be paid for their time in the program. By expanding the program, partners hope to engage more individuals and prepare them for the growing number of construction job opportunities.

Acceptance into the Pathways program is competitive. To meet the minimum requirements, applicants must:

Be 18 years or older;

Live in the City of Syracuse;

Desire a career in construction;

Be authorized to work in the United States;

Have a high school diploma or equivalent;

Read, write, and to speak in English for training and safety purposes; and

Be physically capable to do construction work.

Funding for the Pathways program comes from several community partners recognizing the need to prepare the local workforce, including the City of Syracuse, Greater Syracuse HOPE, Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, North America’s Building Trade Unions, Central New York Community Foundation, United Way of Central New York, and the Alliance for Economic Inclusion.

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. It serves as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyzes and facilitates regional growth, and promotes community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving.

About Central & Northern New York Building Trades (CNNYBT)

CNNYBTC represents approximately 5,000 construction workers and 17 member unions that are highly skilled in a wide array of crafts. These men and women are an intricate part of New York’s workforce, our region’s economy, and future economic prosperity. Since 1958, the CNNYBTC has been in existence in NY to bring the needs of unions from all building-related trades together in an effort to protect the welfare of workers and learn from one another. Together, we’ve been able to have a voice in the State Legislature, fighting for local jobs, fair wages, funding for major infrastructure projects and more. We continue to fight for our members and their families every day, which is evident in our apprenticeship programs. We have 150,000 square feet of training facilities. Annually, we spend over $7.5 million on training. Over the last ten years, we have graduated over 1,735 students. We continue working every day to establish apprenticeship training at the state level. These programs allow us to continue great traditions of quality work into today’s industry, and improve construction across New York State.

About City of Syracuse - Office of the Mayor

Mayor Ben Walsh is a Political Independent and serves as the 54th Mayor of the City of Syracuse. The Walsh Administration developed Syracuse Surge--an inclusive economic development strategy prioritizing tech sector jobs, expanding the trade-related workforce, and social initiatives centered on creating opportunities for all. Under the Walsh Administration, the city has grown in population attracting young professionals, tech entrepreneurs, and new businesses. The City of Syracuse workforce has more than 2,000 employees and manages initiatives with global partners such as JPMorgan Chase, the State of New York, Microsoft, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

About the City of Syracuse

The City of Syracuse is the fifth largest city in New York State. It is the epicenter of New York and the Central New York region. The city is known for its diverse tech-startup industry, a rapidly growing Downtown business district; and its proximity to major anchor institutions, including five higher education campuses and four hospital systems. The city has been named as one of 100 Best Places to live by Real Estate News, Most Secure Cities to Live (Farmers), and a City Where Millennials Are Moving Most (Bloomberg). It has also been named New York State’s Flagship Smart City by New York Power Authority. The city’s neighborhoods are among the most diverse in the state and boast access to major agricultural investments such as the Onondaga Creekwalk and the Syracuse Inner Harbor. Syracuse is a 4.5 hour drive to cities like New York City, Toronto, Boston, and Philadelphia.

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