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CEO FOCUS: Movers to Syracuse, Local Talent Initiatives Offer the Region Opportunities

By Robert M. Simpson


Central New York’s people have always been the region’s greatest assets. It is workers, laborers, and entrepreneurs who make our businesses and community thrive. We regularly hear, however, that talent attraction and retention is not only a priority for our members, but also often a challenge. Right now, we are seeing positive indicators of inflow of workers to the region. Additionally, new partnerships and investments focused on training and talent development are being launched to ensure that those living here have the skills for, and are connected to, the opportunities that exist right in our region.

The shift to remote work has driven a significant jump in people moving from major metro areas to places like Syracuse. CenterState CEO’s Research, Policy and Planning team has analyzed a new report from CBRE ( that shows movers to Syracuse from the New York City metro area increased nearly 70 percent in 2020. The report, which is based on United States Postal Service change-of-address data, also aligns with job searches made through the GoodLife CNY ( As business leaders, we must find new and creative ways to ensure that once here, they stay by finding quality employment for themselves and for their partners relocating with them.

When it comes to investing in our future workforce, the announcement that Amazon will invest $1.75 million to fund robotics and computer-science programs at the new STEAM high school shows how the business community can lead in these efforts. The STEAM school — a joint project between the Syracuse City School District (SCSD), City of Syracuse, and Onondaga County — will be our community’s first regional high school. It will inspire a new generation of kids to explore opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math in preparation for the jobs of tomorrow.

Inspiring kids to explore local, high-demand jobs is also behind a new partnership between CenterState CEO, the SCSD, Le Moyne College’s ERIE21, and MACNY. Recently, more than 25 high-school graduating seniors and their families attended Career Connections. They learned about workforce opportunities available to them immediately following graduation in fields including health care, technology, and construction. 

CenterState CEO is also partnering with Junior Achievement of Central Upstate NY to identify local businesses for its virtual career fair held from May 5 to June 30. As part of Junior Achievement’s work-readiness program: JA Inspire, this event will showcase careers in a wide range of fields and give students a direct opportunity to learn about the opportunities that exist in the region. Companies can learn how to participate at

These are just a few of the efforts we are engaged in to attract and retain regional talent. We all have a role to play in ensuring that our region’s people recognize the opportunities here for successful and rewarding careers. I hope you’ll join us and support these and other programs.

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 April 15.



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