Syracuse Surge Programs Continue Preparing A Diverse Workforce For Career Opportunities

Posted on May 31, 2023

Sam Elm 1

In response to continued employer demand for skilled talent, CentersState CEO has been closely working with community organizations and local training providers (SUNY EOC, OCM BOCES and Onondaga Community College) to develop two training programs, Surge Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) and Electrical Mechanical Technician (ELM).  SAM trains people for entry-level assembly jobs and ELM prepares people for middle-skill jobs in equipment maintenance.

CenterState CEO partners recently graduated another group of students from each program in May. Across the program’s history, around 70% of graduates are now employed in high-tech manufacturing.  

These programs continue to diversify Central New York’s high-tech manufacturing field by helping employers access candidates that are not applying through job fairs or other avenues. Currently, the industry is 73% male and 89% white. By recruiting and retaining people from underrepresented and historically marginalized backgrounds, employers can unlock a new talent pipeline and fill open positions.  

Some employers who continue to use traditional recruiting methods are finding it’s no longer as effective. There are qualified candidates out there who may be currently working multiple jobs or non-traditional hours, so they don’t have time to engage in a lengthy application process or stop by a job fair. These candidates need to be intentionally sought out and see a well-trodden pathway to a single career that can pay the bills.  

The number of applicants for this round of programming increased by 30%, which illustrates that people want to be a part of this industry and fill vacant positions. However, barriers to employment still persist for many qualified, passionate individuals interested in training and employment. Now more than a year out from the end of New York’s eviction moratorium, housing instability is increasingly an issue for potential candidates. The ability to attend classes and succeed in training can be impeded by vulnerable housing situations. A key strategy in meeting the workforce needs of the present and future will be mitigating barriers like this that keep people from work.  

The Work Train team at CenterState CEO is collaborating with the Syracuse Mayor’s office to continue expanding Syracuse Surge workforce strategies, bringing more diverse talent into advanced manufacturing.  Syracuse Surge is a mayoral initiative that includes an unprecedented series of investments in tech infrastructure to position Syracuse as one of America’s ‘smartest’ cities and a global leader in the New Economy. Syracuse Surge is working to ensure inclusive growth in the New Economy through talent and workforce development, minority, women, veteran and disabled owned (XBE) business development and community engagement.

The next round of SAM and ELM classes will start in September 2023. Both programs are now accepting applications. Email Meghan Durso with any questions.  

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