Students in the Syracuse Economic Opportunity Center’s ProTrain program gain hand-on experience. The program is offered through EOC’s Career and Technical Programs and was developed in partnership with Work Train.

Industry Based Partnerships and Programs

Workforce and labor research suggests that sector-based partnerships and industry-specific programs are  highly effective. Accordingly, Work Train builds “Industry Partnerships” to develop and sustain programs that meet the unique needs of our regional employers. Currently, our target industries are Health Care and Manufacturing.

The following partnership-based programs and innovations are Powered By Work Train.

The Health Train Industry Partnership

*Data from January – August 2016
Entered Program168
Completed Program114
Secured Employment102
Wage range$10.00 - $13.00

The Health Train Partnership seeks to create career opportunities in Health Care, while creating a strong talent pool for entry and mid-level jobs within our area’s Health Care institutions.

A variety of partners deliver key programmatic elements to help reach this goal.

Health Train Partnership Members (Health Train Partners):

  • SUNY EOC: 

    The centerpiece of the Health Train partnership is SUNY EOC’s Health Train Work Readiness Program. Originally developed and piloted in 2011 in collaboration with St. Joseph’s Health, the program orients jobseekers to the healthcare field, strengthens their interviewing and communication skills, connects them to jobs with local employers, and helps them navigate often-complex career pathways. 
  • SEIU 1199 Training and Upgrade Fund (TUF): 

    1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund (TUF) partners with the 1199SEIU Union and employers to provide education and career advancement opportunities for healthcare workers across the Upstate region. Union member employees can access adult education, Tuition Assistance programs, and Continuing Education Reimbursements. TUF also provides pre-CNA classes for new for Health Train graduates to support them in a successful transition into employer-sponsored CNA certification courses.
  • On Point: 

    On Point supports workers once they’re placed into Health Care positions to establish career plans. They work with them to set goals, enroll in the educational programs necessary for career advancement, navigate employer benefits, and utilize union supports.
  • The Volunteer Lawyers Project:

    The Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) enlists local volunteer attorneys and law students to provide free legal information, assistance, and representation in civil legal matters to workers receiving low wages. Recently, VLP launched the New Start Program, which assists CNY residents in obtaining employment and professional licensing by addressing their criminal history and record. Through this program, VLP has been working with Health Train students to clear up inaccuracies in their legal records, and in doing so, helping clear the path to employment.
  • Health Train Community Ambassadors: 

    Work Train aligns with various service agencies and community-based organizations to identify unemployed and underemployed individuals that are strong fits for careers in the Health Care industry. We build connections between these organizations and SUNY EOC so that they can refer clients smoothly and continue to support them as needed. Community Ambassadors include Syracuse Community Connections, Jubilee Homes, JobsPlus!, CNY Works, the Refugee Assistance Program, The Spanish Action League and many more.

Health Train Employers:

  • Loretto

  • St. Joseph’s Health

  • Crouse Hospital

  • SUNY Upstate Medical Center

  • VNA Homecare

Program Status Update:

Health Train programming is running regularly and efficiently. Work Train is currently formalizing a partnership structure to better facilitate communications between employers and program partners and ensure that Health Train programming is continuously being refined and adjusted as needed. Work Train is currently funding the majority of Health Train programs, but Work Train staff members are working closely with SUNY EOC, On Point and other partners to better sustain the program in future years. From January to August 2016, 168 individuals entered the program, 114 of them have completed it, and 102 have utilized the program’s job placement supports to secure employment.


The International Health Professionals Initiative

The International Health Professionals Initiative (IHPI) aims to help meet the persistent and growing employer demand for skilled healthcare professionals by capitalizing on the skills of the more than 200 foreign-born medical professionals residing in Syracuse who are lacking a clear pathway into the profession in the United States. The initiative intends to provide long term solutions for international health professionals who are disconnected from professional networks, unable to access their professional credentials and lack the financial and educational resources to continue their studies, all resulting in an unclear path to re-entering the medical field.

The IHPI is a collaborative effort between JobsPlus!, The Syracuse City School District Refugee Assistance Program, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Work Train and other community partners, including On Point and The Spanish Action League.

Together, all partners have helped support the founding of the International Health Professionals Association of CNY (IHPA of CNY), a group of about forty leaders within the Cuban community with a desire to help strengthen the network. IHPA and members are promoting events and job opportunities via social media. Thirty medical students and IHPs were in attendance for the first English/Spanish case study and language exchange organized by the SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Health Sciences Library, IHPA of CNY and Work Train.

Meanwhile, Work Train is also currently exploring the creation of a Welcome Back Center, based on a model developed by the Welcome Back Initiative in San Francisco. The goal of the model is to help international health professionals acquire professional credentials, prepare for medical exams, identify and pursue alternative career paths within the health and medical professions.

Program Status Update:

IHPI is in its nascent developmental stages. We anticipate the launch of a Welcome Back Center in 2017.

The Machine Operator Program at Onondaga Community College

*Data from January – August 2016
PhaseNumber (To Date)
Entered Program26
Completed Program8
Placed in Employment14
Wage RangeApprox. $9.50 - 13.50

The Manufacturing Machine Operator Program prepares individuals for entry-level positions within the local manufacturing industry. Simultaneously, it connects employers to a skilled, entry-level workforce with the soft and technical skills needed to enter into, and succeed within, manufacturing careers—in particular, those of Machine Operator, Production Technician, CNC Operator, and Mill Operator. The 14-week program provides training focused on metalworking skills, along with foundational job skills, and links participants to opportunities for entry-level employment within the manufacturing industry. By offering these supports to workers, the program also helps employers retain talent and advance their skill sets.

Program Partners:

Developed and operated primarily through SUNY Onondaga Community College, The Machine Operator Program is the inaugural initiative of the Manufacturing Careers Partnership, which consists of the Manufacturer’s Association of Central New York (MACNY), the Central New York Technology Development Organization (TDO), SUNY Educational Opportunity Center (SUNY EOC), SUNY Onondaga Community College (SUNY OCC) and local community-based organizations. The partnership leverages the collective expertise, assets, and industry strengths of the community to meet employer demand within manufacturing, while helping local residents secure employment. Funding for the program was provided by Empire State Development and Assemblyman Al Stirpe.

Employer Partners:

The Machine Operator program was designed by OCC with intensive input from the following employers:

  • Darco Manufacturing
  • Falk Precision
  • PPC
  • Midstate Spring
  • Associated Spring

The following companies have hired from the Machine Operator Program to date:

  • Cryomech
  • PPC
  • Berry Plastics
  • Midstate Spring
  • Advanced Central Services
  • Dannon Tool
  • Precision Systems
  • Byrne Dairy
  • Falk Precision
  • Tessy Plastics

Program Status Update

The Machine Operator Program was established in the summer of 2015 at Onondaga Community College. Today, it is a formal offering within Onondaga Community College’s workforce development programs.

The Cooperative Federal Car Buyer Program for Manufacturing Workers

The Car Buyer program addresses one of the major barriers to for manufacturing job seekers: transportation. Most manufacturing jobs are not centrally located. The Cooperative Federal car buyer program offers an affordable car-buying instrument to current and prospective manufacturing workers who have difficulty obtaining employment because they can’t get to their jobs. With financial support from New York Empire State Development and Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Work Train has provided the financial resources for Cooperative Federal to offer affordable car loans to workers, while also providing a loan loss reserve fund to ensure that virtually all workers qualify for the program.

Program Status Update:

The program will launch in December 2017.

The Manufacturing Career Readiness Program

Still in development, the Manufacturing Career Readiness Program is a short term training solution designed to prepare graduates to become excellent candidates for entry level positions throughout multiple sectors in the manufacturing industry. The model accommodates additional training specialization modules designed for particular industries where there is substantiated need, and participation will allow participants to qualify for higher paying tier-2 entry level positions. Although training and education partners are still to be determined, program content will include soft skills training, industry orientation, as well as basic hard skills identified by employers as critical for success in their workforce.

Program Status Update:

The program will launch in the spring of 2017.


Additional Work Train Collaborations

Beyond Industry Partnerships and programs, Work Train also provides strategic support, technical assistance and/or financial support to certain key projects. While these projects are not officially part of the Work Train portfolio, they do align with Work Train’s mission and often relate to Work Train programs.

Catholic Charities “Culinary Arts for Self Sufficiency” (CASS) Program

Culinary Arts for Self Sufficiency, or the CASS program provides soft skills training and industry specific skill sets, including ServSafe Certification, to participants for placement in the food services industry. CASS utilizes an innovative entrepreneurial model. Through the provision of catering services to outside entities, participants gain simulated on-the-job-training through this experiential learning format.

Work Train is helping CASS with developing strategies to support its graduates in retaining employment and advancing into career pathways. Work Train provides program technical support and creates opportunities for employer engagement as the CASS program continues to evolve and grow in scale. Currently, the Work Train and CASS teams are engaging in a third-party evaluation process to better understand the barriers and challenges faced by low-skill, low-wage workers.

Through funding made available through the United Way and New York State Senator DeFrancisco, CASS and Work Train continue to explore opportunities to identify career pathways and provide employment retention supports that enable CASS graduates to achieve long term employment goals and self-sufficiency.

Southwest Workforce Coordination

Work Train sponsors and partners with Syracuse Community Connections at Southwest Community Center and Jubilee Homes to enhance their efforts to engage and recruit Southwest neighborhood residents to get onto career pathways.

Specifically, these partners assist in recruiting, preparing and referring qualified candidates for Work Train sponsored programs, placing an emphasis on residents of Syracuse’s South and West side communities and clients. Additionally, SCC oversees additional services and placement activities (e.g. job fairs) for community residents whose interests and/or skills are not aligned with Work Train sponsored programming. When possible, they also provide ongoing support (e.g. job coaching, case management) to candidates via job training within the Southwest neighborhoods of Syracuse.

Status Update:

In early 2017, SCC and Jubilee Homes will work alongside Work Train Staff to implement a new manufacturing program, while also helping the team to develop a more effective recruitment strategy for manufacturing programs.