Close this search box.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.


Microsoft awards Syracuse, CenterState CEO $500K grant for economic development

The Syracuse Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) has awarded 39 Syracuse small businesses and organizations $350,000 in COVID-19 relief grants. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says the money comes from the federal CARES Act. (Photo credit:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Microsoft Philanthropies has awarded the City of Syracuse and CenterState CEO a $500,000 Skills for Jobs and Livelihoods grant.

The grant will help target digital literacy and support entrepreneurship, small businesses, and workforce training for digital industries, CenterState CEO said in its Friday announcement.

A team representing Microsoft met with Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and partners from CenterState CEO to discuss how community impact will be driven through the grant.


The Microsoft officials included Naria Santa Lucia, general manager of digital inclusion and U.S. community engagement at Microsoft Philanthropies. Santa Lucia participated in a panel discussion during CenterState CEO’s annual meeting on Tuesday. The panel conversation focused on digital transformation, workforce inclusion, and the impact of community investment and collaboration.

“Microsoft Philanthropies is making another major investment in the Syracuse Surge,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said. “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.

The grant will pay for programs that 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,” Santa Lucia said. “We are excited to work with the Syracuse community to drive digital literacy and workforce training programs needed for in-demand jobs.”

The Syracuse Surge is the plan “to make Syracuse a world leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and “jumpstart investment to create economic growth, shared prosperity and neighborhood transformation,” Walsh said in outlining the Syracuse Surge initiative during his 2019 State of the City address.

In those remarks, Walsh described the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” as that which “depends on connectivity — to one another, to jobs, to the internet, devices and data.”

Grant-targeted programs

The Microsoft grant will target three areas of programming, CenterState CEO said.

They included digital-literacy programming that involves implementing solutions “through digital equity and inclusion programming” for Syracuse city residents that address “key community needs.”

The funding will also target entrepreneurship and small-business development to advance programs, including the “Surge Accelerator” and “Surge for Small Business,” led by CenterState CEO and aligned with the city’s Syracuse Surge strategy.   

In addition, the funding will pay for “New Economy (Tech) Workforce Training” with 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, CenterState CEO said.








Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.

Essential business news, thoughtful analysis and valuable insights for Central New York business leaders.

Copyright © 2023 Central New York Business Journal. All Rights Reserved.