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Politics and Government

Walsh proposes $800,000 in ARPA funding towards job training in construction, tech

City of Syracuse
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh outside City Hall in May, touting a construction apprenticeship program.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is proposing to use $800,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to go towards construction and technology job training and placement for communities of color, women and veterans. The goal is to get more than 140 unemployed or underemployed city residents into some of the most high-demand jobs over the next year.

In the past 90 days, hundreds of jobs related to electrical maintenance, software development, HVAC, high-tech manufacturing and commercial driving have been posted in Onondaga County with starting pay around $25 to $40 an hour.

Dominic Robinson is with CenterState CEO, the organization that will administer the funding to different job training programs. He said these industries, historically, have not had a lot of diversity.

“These are predominately white, male industries,” Robinson said. “We hear owners of companies and other industry leaders say they want to diversify these industries as well. As these industries grow, we want to make sure that all Syracuse residents have the opportunity to grow with those industries and in those industries.”

In some cases, people will get paid while they’re being trained, which Robinson said is important because about a third of the city is underemployed.

“People who are working, in many cases, multiple jobs just to put food on the table, they actually have the drive, the work ethic and sometimes the baseline skill that could catapult them into a much better career, but they don’t have the bandwidth to leave a job, to go get trained,” Robinson said. “We really wanted to make that opportunity available for folks.”

Some Syracuse councilors had concerns about job placement after people are trained, but they say this will help reduce unemployment. A vote is likely Monday.