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Syracuse wins $3 million grant for 'Syracuse Surge' initiative

Ellen Abbott

The Syracuse Surge is getting a boost from its biggest private sector contribution yet. The city has won a $3 million grant as part of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities Challenge.

City officials call this is a pivotal moment for the Syracuse Surge, Mayor Ben Walsh's plan to boost the city's tech sector. This funding will help advance the initiative, at the same time making sure that prosperity from it is shared among the poorest city residents. 

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson says one of the knocks on the tech sector has been that it only benefits a homogeneous population.

"The very heart of our strategy is to try to break that mold. To demonstrate that the people in our community that are unemployed, that are under-employed that have the skills and aptitude and desire to work in tech, can be trained, can be supported, can be encouraged and be given jobs in these fast growing fields."

Dominic Robinson of CenterState CEO helped come up with some of the plans in the proposal. He said this will fund training and skill retention programs to start with "and ultimately build that bridge from where they’ve been from a network standpoint, to find access to employers and convert that into jobs," he said.

The program is also meant to support businesses owned by minorities, the disabled and veterans.

Syracuse beat out 250 other cities to win the grant. JPMorgan Chase said it was a spirit of collaboration that clinched the winning application.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.