One of the marks of success of CenterState CEO’s innovation and entrepreneurial efforts is the thriving tech ecosystem in Syracuse. This community is home to many rapidly growing tech companies, and is a great place for people to get a job or start their tech career. However, like so much of the tech industry across the country, many people are underrepresented, and jobs have not been readily accessible to people of color, minorities, or women.
CenterState CEO, through its Tech & Culture program and with support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation’s AdvancingCities Challenge, is working to engage diverse professionals and highlight career opportunities in the region’s growing tech sector. This ensures there are more equitable opportunities while also creating a pipeline of exceptional and diverse talent.
Building a social and professional network of diverse tech professionals within the region through Tech & Culture supports the success of Syracuse Surge. By connecting diverse talent to one another, Tech & Culture is creating a network critical to shaping the local tech ecosystem and making Syracuse a place where people want to live and work. These connections are facilitated in part through the Syracuse Surge Learning Community, which prepares residents, specifically women and people of color, to transition into tech careers. Through the learning community’s participants discover what it takes to create a career in tech, as well as network and develop relationships with mentors.
I encourage all our members, but particularly those in the tech industry, to think about ways their company can support these programs. This could include sponsoring an event or having a member of your staff speak at a Tech & Culture or learning community event. You could consider offering to showcase your company and meet with Learning Community program participants, or encourage your staff to become active in these Tech & Culture programs. To learn how, contact Marcus Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Oct. 14.