CNY’S first Software Developer Apprentice is a woman, and she works for the City of Syracuse.

The City of Syracuse, in partnership with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, announced Central New York’s first apprenticeship program in software development, providing opportunities for vastly upskilling the region’s digital workforce. The partnership has realized the City of Syracuse’s first Registered Apprentice in the Software Developer trade, and MACNY’s first sponsored apprenticeship in the Information Technology field.

MACNY, as a partner with the New York State Department of Labor, administers registered apprenticeships in Central New York. This allows MACNY to act as an intermediary to help small and medium-sized companies across New York State start registered apprenticeships for needed trades at their companies. In December of 2020, the Syracuse Common Council passed an ordinance allowing the City to enter into an agreement with MACNY to sponsor apprenticeships in software development.

“Since announcing Syracuse Surge, the City has been working with private-sector partners to build a pipeline of skilled employees in the technology trades for the benefit of our region, but City government needs these workers, too,” said Mayor Ben Walsh. “This partnership opens up opportunities to attract new employees to City government and to our region’s growing digital workforce.”

“MACNY is thrilled to partner with the City of Syracuse on our first apprenticeship program in the trade of Information Technology. We know this program will open up even more employment opportunities for local residents, while helping the City meet its workforce needs,” said Laury Ferguson, MACNY Director of Apprenticeship and Workforce Development.

When Nicole Broadnax, a city resident, was hired to the division of Digital Services, the goal was for the City to put her on a formal registered apprenticeship path to become a Software Engineer. Now, as the first Software Developer Apprentice in CNY, Nicole will receive a journeyman card similar to how plumbers, electricians, and skilled trades receive their credentials by the end of her apprenticeship.

Nicole Broadnax

MACNY President & CEO Randy Wolken said, “Community partnerships like this are vital to filling the talent pipeline. We look forward to continuing our work with the City of Syracuse and are eager to be part of Ms. Broadnax’s growth and success.”  

Because the apprenticeship is paired with a New York State Department of Labor approved curriculum and technical instruction provided through MACNY’s educational partners, Nicole will also be able to earn college credit toward the attainment of an Associate Degree for the training classes and work completed.

“The exciting part about this is that it gives us a new tool to use when hiring, with the goal of diversifying the talent and skillsets in our workforce. MACNY as a partner enables us to train and promote from within, or look beyond the traditional degree requirements that we typically have for more modernized and technical roles,” said the City’s Director of Digital Services Kelsey May. “Although we are starting in Digital Services, I can see government and partners across the region taking advantage of apprenticeships for software engineers.”

Nicole, in an interview with MACNY, explained that she had not heard about apprenticeship pathways when she was a student, except for those centered on cosmetology. She noted that programs for technical roles in Information Technology were not widely known.

Nicole offered advice to other high school students who may not know what’s next for their careers. “There are so many generational barriers that can get in the way of your success– you may question your knowledge and experience,” said Nicole. “But understand that you worked hard to get here, and you do deserve a seat at the table.”

As a group sponsor for Advanced Manufacturing trades, MACNY launched the Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) in 2016. Initial trades included high-demand areas such as CNC Machinist, Electronics Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, and Welder. Since then, MACNY has added more than 20 additional trades to now include IT.  The program was approved last year for this Software Developer trade, and the City of Syracuse contracted MACNY to sponsor its first Registered Apprenticeship program as part of a larger workforce development strategy focused on attracting and training local community members to its talent pool.  

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