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Partners launch Syracuse Surge job-training programs

By Eric Reinhardt (


The partners involved in the Syracuse Surge training programs announced the initiatives Thursday at Le Moyne College. Those participating in the announcement included (from left to right) Laiza Semidey, Syracuse Surge workforce manager at CenterState CEO; Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh; Aimee Durfee, director of workforce innovation at CenterState CEO; Tim Penix, VP of SUNY Educational Opportunity Center; Amanda Miles, director of Erie21; and Linda LeMura, president of Le Moyne College. (Photo credit: CenterState CEO)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The partners involved on Thursday announced the launch of a series of training programs as part of a technology-workforce strategy to help fill in-demand jobs in the tech industry.

The five programs announced will target a diverse workforce of up to 300 residents, connecting them to training and jobs over the next year, per a news release.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, CenterState CEO, SUNY Educational Opportunity Center (SUNY EOC), Le Moyne College, and other Syracuse Surge partners participated in the announcement at Le Moyne College.

The Syracuse Surge strategy has resulted in investments from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in tech infrastructure to position Syracuse in the “New Economy.”

Walsh and the City of Syracuse initiated Syracuse Surge which — in collaboration with Onondaga County and leading local institutions — is working to ensure “inclusive growth” in the city as connectivity and a STEM-related “New Economy” call for more skilled talent, workforce development, XBE (minority-, women-, veteran- and disability-owned business enterprises) business development, and community engagement.

“The New Economy is already here and it’s tech-driven, internet-driven, and people-driven. Every partner in the Syracuse Surge ecosystem is acting on the opportunity to create the workforce of the future by investing in training programs and reframing opportunities to more inclusively build-up our workforce...and it’s working,” Walsh said. “Syracuse Surge is creating initiatives that offer city residents higher wages and careers that will last well into the future.”

Local employers are helping to develop the training programs to help people train for the “jobs that are in demand.” The investment of public and private funds from the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, Work Train funder collaborative, and JPMorgan Chase Foundation are help paying for these programs, CenterState CEO said.

Several of the training programs will offer participants stipends through investments made by the American Rescue Plan Act, administered by the City of Syracuse.

“We are excited to help lead this effort and engage local employers to recognize the key role they can play in this process,” Aimee Durfee, director of workforce innovation at CenterState CEO, said. “Across the spectrum we are seeing job creators step up and actively take part in this process, championing workforce competitiveness and looking closely at how equity is central to their hiring practices.”

All the programs are providing participants with access to a Surge career navigator to help them navigate the pathway into their chosen career. This includes help with résumé writing, interviewing skills, and how to successfully manage the application process.

Training programs, career opportunities

Information on all programs can be found at, but below are brief descriptions of the programs.

Surge Coding Apprenticeship: A paid program that targets diverse talent to attract them into Syracuse’s tech sector. The program is for those interested in a career in software development, which combines classroom training with self-paced learning and on-the-job experience. Funding for the program comes from JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the American Rescue Plan Act administered by the City of Syracuse. It’s a year-long program, depending on the employers, which include TCGplayer, Terakeet, and Thales. Participants will receive four weeks of preparatory training before beginning an apprenticeship. The program will begin in February 2022.

Digital Customer Service: Hosted by SUNY EOC, this three-week paid program includes training for digital/technical skills, including typing, dual-screen usage, and industry specific software proficiency. Participants will be connected to industry experts to learn what it’s like to work at a call center and will have the opportunity to network with local employers. Entry-level wages range for these careers is $14 to $18 an hour with benefits.

Surge Advanced Manufacturing: Hosted by SUNY EOC, this two-week, introductory, paid training program will prepare people for careers in clean high-tech advanced manufacturing. The program covers blueprint reading, industrial math, technical skills, and professional development. Entry-level wages range from $14 to $18 an hour with overtime “frequently available.” These careers typically have “significant opportunities for advancement.”

Le Moyne College undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity fundamentals or computer programming: These industry-approved programs are each one year in duration, offer college credit, and will prepare participants for gainful employment in cybersecurity and computer programming careers. These programs were created for individuals who are looking to learn a new technical skill set to enhance employability, those who are looking to advance within a current organization or for those who are looking to start down a new career pathway. The program begins Tuesday, Jan. 18, in-person classes will be held at Le Moyne College. Full financial aid is available for those who demonstrate high financial need through a partnership between Le Moyne and CenterState CEO. Seats are limited and priority will be given to applications received by Dec. 17.

Careers in Code, Hack Upstate: 24-week coding bootcamp that teaches computer programming to women and minorities to help combat poverty in Central New York. Students learn technical skills needed to obtain internships and entry level software-development jobs with local employers.


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