SYRACUSE, NY – The City of Syracuse – in partnership with MACNY, the Manufacturers Association – has launched a software development apprenticeship program.
The initiative aims to provide opportunities to “significantly improve the skills of the region’s digital workforce,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s office said in a March 24 announcement.
In December 2020, the Syracuse Common Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to enter into an agreement with MACNY to sponsor software development apprenticeships.
The partnership produced the city of Syracuse’s first registered apprentice in the software developer trade and the first MACNY-sponsored apprenticeship in the information technology field, per city.
MACNY, as a partner of the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), administers registered apprenticeships in Central New York. This effort enables MACNY to act as a conduit to help small and medium-sized businesses in New York State start registered apprenticeships for trades needed in their businesses.
“Since the announcement of Syracuse Surge, the city has been working with private sector partners to create a pipeline of skilled employees in technology occupations to benefit our region, but the city government needs these workers as well,” Walsh said. “This partnership opens up opportunities to attract new employees to the city government and our region’s growing digital workforce.”
An apprentice story
When Syracuse resident Nicole Broadnax was hired by the city’s digital services division, Syracuse wanted to put her on a formal learning path to become a software engineer.
Now, as an apprentice software developer, Broadnax will receive a journeyman card upon completion of their apprenticeship in the same way plumbers, electricians and skilled trades earn their credentials.
Broadnax will also be able to earn college credit toward an associate degree for training courses and work performed. That’s because the learning is paired with a NYSDOL-approved curriculum and technical instruction offered by MACNY’s educational partners.
“What’s exciting is that it gives us a new tool to use when hiring, with the goal of diversifying the talents and skills of our workforce. MACNY as a partner allows us to train and promote from within or look beyond the traditional degree requirements that we typically have for more modern, technical roles,” said Kelsey May, director of digital services for the city of Syracuse. we were starting in digital services, I can see government and partners across the region benefiting from apprenticeships for software engineers.”
Broadnax, in an interview with MACNY, explained that she hadn’t heard of learning paths when she was a student, except those centered on cosmetology. She noted that programs for technical roles in information technology were not widely known.
“Community partnerships like this are key to filling the talent pipeline,” said Randy Wolken, President and CEO of MACNY. “We look forward to continuing our work with the City of Syracuse and look forward to being a part of Ms. Broadnax’s growth and success.”
Broadnax has offered the following advice to other high school students who may not know what their next career step is.
“There are so many generational barriers that can get in the way of your success [and] you can question your knowledge and experience,” Broadnax said. “But understand that you’ve worked hard to get here and deserve a seat at the table.”