Program needed now to prepare local workforce for jobs being created by I-81 and other infrastructure investments

City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, CenterState CEO and Central & Northern New York Building Trades Council collaborate to run program that teaches the nationally recognized North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Multi-Craft Core Curriculum

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, CenterState CEO and other community partners announced recruitment is underway for the first class of Syracuse Build’s Pathways to Apprenticeship program. This comprehensive apprenticeship readiness training program specifically focuses on women, people of color and veterans to help them gain access to the Building Trades’ registered apprenticeship programs. The paid 11-week program is designed to prepare a local workforce for the significant number of construction jobs being created by federal, state and local infrastructure investments including I-81.

“This community is aligning like never before to prepare for the I-81 opportunity. Major project sponsors, local labor, elected leaders and community advocates are working together to create opportunities where there have been barriers to entry in the construction trades,” said Mayor Walsh. “It is complex and challenging work that requires selfless teamwork. The Syracuse Build Pathways to Apprenticeship program is a demonstration of a collaborative partnership committed to diversifying our trades and engaging neighborhoods in building our city and region. We are preparing for the future of our city today.”

Syracuse Build is a community initiative launched by Mayor Walsh to support local construction activity by connecting job seekers from Syracuse’s historically marginalized communities with career pathways in construction related fields. Syracuse Build’s goal is to align local government, unions, anchor institutions, and construction firms in a coordinated network of community, training and workforce partners. Work Train at CenterState CEO serves as an intermediary, bringing resources and partners to develop both the Syracuse Build initiative and the Pathways to Apprenticeship program.

Syracuse Common Council President Helen Hudson stated, “This is an enormous opportunity for our community, and this partnership has taken a long time. The trades and the Syracuse Build Steering Committee hear the need to bring more residents and more diversity into the hiring pipeline. We need to be prepared to build our city together and prosper from it together. This is hard work that pays well, and city residents are ready for opportunities. Thank you so much to Greater Syracuse H.O.P.E, New York State, our funding partners and, absolutely, to our trade partners.”

“The Syracuse Build’s Pathways to Apprenticeship program is a win all the way around. County residents will be able to take advantage of high paying construction jobs, contractors will have a trained and ready workforce and the region will see lower unemployment and poverty rates,” said Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon. “As we continue our economic recovery, having a skilled workforce will be increasingly important to the construction industry as more fortune 500 companies look to call Onondaga County home.”

The Pathway to Apprenticeship program is a collaboration of the Central and Northern New York Building Trades Council (CNNYBTC), and Syracuse Build and teaches the nationally recognized North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Multi-Craft Core Curriculum.

“This program is unique because it was co-designed and will be led by members of the CNNYBTC. Trade Unions offer access to high paying, family sustaining careers in construction. We look forward to providing opportunities for Syracuse residents, especially women and people of color, to have successful careers in the union construction trades,” said Greg Lancette, President of CNNYBTC.

The Pathways to Apprenticeship program is specifically designed to introduce participants to the trades and helps participants gain the knowledge, physical, and technical skills needed to be competitive and successfully apply to a registered union apprenticeship.

Entering a union-sponsored registered apprenticeship can be highly competitive; through Pathways to Apprenticeship, participants will get exclusive networking opportunities with local trade unions and coaching and preparation for the registered apprenticeship application process.

Funding for the Pathways program comes from a number of community partners recognizing the need to prepare the local workforce, including the City of Syracuse, Greater Syracuse HOPE, Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, North America’s Building Trade Unions, Central New York Community Foundation, United Way of Central New York, and the Alliance for Economic Inclusion. 

 “We are seeing a fortuitous alignment of massive infrastructure investments, including the redevelopment of I-81, capital investments and pent-up consumer demand that will require a substantial pipeline of qualified local construction workers,” said Dominic Robinson, Vice President of Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO. “Through Syracuse Build and the Pathways to Apprenticeship program we can ensure the local labor force and contractors are well-positioned to participate in these projects. Right now is the time to prepare so that these once-in-a-lifetime investments are utilized to their fullest potential to drive equitable opportunities and wealth for the entire community.”  

The Pathways to Apprenticeship program begins on June 14 and will go through Aug. 26, operating four days a week. Interested applicants should apply by going to to complete the program application form by May 21. Training is tuition-free and accepted participants will be paid for their time in the program. 

Acceptance into the Pathways program is competitive. To meet the minimum requirements, applicants must:

●     Be 18 years or older;

●     Live in the City of Syracuse;

●     Desire a career in construction;

●     Be authorized to work in the United States;

●     Have a high school diploma or equivalent;

●     Read, write, and speak in English for training and safety purposes; and

●     Be physically capable of doing construction work.

About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving.

About Central & Northern New York Building Trades (CNNYBT)

CNNYBTC represents approximately 5,000 construction workers and 17 member unions that are highly skilled in a wide array of crafts. These men and women are an intricate part of New York’s workforce, our region’s economy, and future economic prosperity. Since 1958, the CNNYBTC has been in existence in NY to bring the needs of unions from all building-related trades together in an effort to protect the welfare of workers and learn from one another. Together, we’ve been able to have a voice in the State Legislature, fighting for local jobs, fair wages, funding for major infrastructure projects and more. We continue to fight for our members and their families every day, which is evident in our apprenticeship programs. We have 150,000 square feet of training facilities. Annually, we spend over $7.5 million on training. Over the last ten years, we have graduated over 1,735 students. We continue working every day to establish apprenticeship training at the state level. These programs allow us to continue great traditions of quality work into today’s industry, and improve construction across New York State.


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