Using Microsoft’s $500,000 Effort Grant
SYRACUSE — The City of Syracuse and the CEO of CenterState will use a $500,000 grant to target digital literacy and support entrepreneurship, small business, and workforce training for digital industries.
Microsoft Philanthropies awarded the $500,000 Skills for Jobs and Livelihoods Grant, the CenterState CEO said.
A team representing Microsoft recently met with Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and partners from the CEO of CenterState to discuss how the grant will generate community impact.
Microsoft officials included Naria Santa Lucia, managing director of digital inclusion and US community engagement at Microsoft Philanthropies. Santa Lucia participated in a panel discussion at CenterState’s annual CEO meeting on April 26. The panel conversation focused on digital transformation, workforce inclusion, and the impact of community investment and collaboration.
“Microsoft Philanthropies is making another major investment in the Syracuse Surge,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said. “This is public-private collaboration at its best. With this grant, the City of Syracuse and its Syracuse Surge collaborators will equip more city residents with the skills and abilities they need to build successful careers in the new economy. I am deeply grateful to Microsoft for its early and ongoing commitment to the Syracuse Surge and to the people of the city of Syracuse.
CenterState CEO will partner with the City of Syracuse – through the Syracuse Surge Initiative – to foster digital equity by empowering residents to increase their digital skills and better navigate online services; access career paths in software-related fields; and start and grow businesses.
The grant will pay for programs that will focus on members of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, as well as women.
“By expanding access to digital skills, supporting small businesses and accelerating the startup ecosystem, we are expanding opportunities,” Santa Lucia said. “We are excited to work with the Syracuse community to pilot the digital literacy and workforce training programs needed for in-demand jobs.”
The Syracuse Surge is the plan “to make Syracuse a global leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and “initiate investments to create economic growth, shared prosperity and neighborhood transformation,” Walsh said in describing the Syracuse Initiative. Surge at his 2019 State of the City address.
In these remarks, Walsh described the “fourth industrial revolution” as one that “depends on connectivity – with each other, with jobs, with the internet, with devices and with data.”
Microsoft’s grant will target three programming areas, the CenterState CEO said.
They included digital literacy programs that involve implementing solutions “through digital equity and inclusion programs” for residents of the city of Syracuse that address “key community needs.”
The funding will also target entrepreneurship and small business development to advance programs, including the “Surge Accelerator” and “Surge for Small Business,” led by CenterState’s CEO and aligned with the Syracuse Surge strategy of the city.
Additionally, the funding will fund the “training of the new economy (tech) workforce” with the development of coding, software and digital customer service programs.
These investments will also continue work funded by JP Morgan Chase AdvancingCities and the American Rescue Plan Act, the CenterState CEO said.