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CEO FOCUS: Syracuse Surge Programs Prepare Local Talent for In-Demand Careers

By Robert Simpson


Ensuring local talent has the skills and experience to meet the needs of employers is critical to our region’s economic progress. Likewise, efforts to attract a semiconductor manufacturer to the White Pine mega site in Clay must also include the preparation of community members to fill any new job opportunities.

Connecting Syracuse residents to this necessary training is being led in part by Syracuse Surge. Recently, one of its signature programs, the Surge Advanced Manufacturing Program (SAM), graduated a third cohort. This three-week long program prepares Syracuse residents for careers in high-tech advanced manufacturing. During the program, candidates receive a stipend, tour local manufacturing companies and network with local employers while learning hands-on technical skills. To date 35 graduates have successfully completed the program and have been connected to local employers. Two more classes are scheduled to begin soon. 

Syracuse Surge also hosts the Digital Customer Service (DCS) program. Over the program’s seven cohorts, 61 people have graduated from the paid training program at SUNY EOC. New to the most recent cohort, program participants were eligible to interview for a paid-internship position at Rapid Response Monitoring. 

CenterState CEO’s Work Train coordinates SAM and DCS in partnership with SUNY EOC. The program is funded by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and the American Rescue Plan, administered by the City of Syracuse. 

While the success of these programs highlights the exceptional talent that exists in our community, too often these populations are overlooked. Through Syracuse Surge we can ensure those who want a new career in these high-demand areas receive the training they need to be successful. This ultimately is a win for our community and the many businesses across our region that seek talent to grow here. 

To learn more about these programs, contact Meghan Durso, CenterState CEO’s senior manager of industry partnerships for Work Train, at

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 Aug. 4.