Minority trades training program comes to Syracuse

Jun 28, 2013

A new job training program is hoping to boost minority employment in construction and trades in the Syracuse area.

The city of Syracuse is putting its backing behind the workforce training program run by the National Association of Minority Contractors.

Otis Jennings, president of the local chapter of the association, brought the program to Syracuse. He says the best part of the program is the training is standardized and participants can take the certificate anywhere.

Otis Jennings (right), President of the Upstate Region of the National Association of Minority Contractors, has a laugh after announcing a new minority training program.
Otis Jennings (right), President of the Upstate Region of the National Association of Minority Contractors, has a laugh after announcing a new minority training program.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

"This is the incubation period with these guys. And I told them their role in this initiative is huge," Jennings said at a press conference Friday. "So once we get them through and get them going and people see that they’re working, I think is going to give us more credibility."

He says they had to turn people away from the first round of training. Fifteen men are going through the 10-week training right now.

Participant Marcus Davis has some previous construction work experience. But he says the program will allow him to do a lot more.

"Before, I learned trade, but I wasn’t able to have proof of it. Now I’m actually able to walk around and actually have proof," he says. "So that’ll give me the opportunity to travel within the 50 states and be perfectly fine and be able to start my own construction company. That’s what I want to be able to do."

Davis and the others will receive Department of Labor recognized credentials.

Thanks to donations, Jennings says the training is free of charge.