Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 39 projects will be funded through Round 2 of the $30 million Alliance for Economic Inclusion anti-poverty initiative in Central New York. Founded in 2017, the AEI is comprised of a group of 24 community leaders from the five counties of Central New York who represent the region's diversity of government, business and academia and work to address economic opportunities and challenges identified by the community. Onondaga County administers the initiative with funding from the State, including more than $16 million to support projects in Round 2.
"This administration has taken poverty head on and continues to make strategic investments across New York that are empowering our communities and creating economic opportunity," Governor Cuomo said. "These projects will help remove barriers to success experienced by many of the most vulnerable New Yorkers and enable meaningful change, while continuing to build on the positive momentum that has Central New York rising."
The AEI is being funded through the successful CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan submitted by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, which was tasked with addressing poverty in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oswego and Onondaga Counties. Estimates based on 2018 population data show 14.5 percent, or 107,531, of Central New York residents live in poverty. The poverty rate is significantly higher in more populated centers such as the City of Syracuse.
The awarded projects cover a broad range of issues and are broken into six categories: Early-Childhood Education, Transportation, Workforce Development, Post-Secondary Education, Neighborhood Revitalization and Access to Startup Funding. More than half of the projects awarded focus on workforce development, the lack of which remains a significant barrier to moving people out of poverty.
The selected Round 2 projects include:
Syracuse Urban Partnership (SYRUP): SYRUP works in neighborhoods marked by the highest concentrations of poverty and addresses economic disparities and inequities by providing access to business opportunities for low-income neighborhood residents, helping them start and operate successful small businesses in their community. SYRUP's goal is to build generational wealth and become daily, visible leaders in the revitalization of their neighborhood through a collaborative approach. Year One budget: $253,000/Total budget: $1,001,000.
OnPoint Career Services: Offering career services in Oswego and Cayuga counties, Career Services will expand its internship offerings during the school year and over winter break, building on a successful internship program begun in 2017. Year One budget: $333,333/Total budget: $1,000,000.
Cortland County Stabilization and Expansion Program for Early Learning Childcare: Program will provide Child Development Associate (CDA) training and credentials in Cortland County to stabilize and expand the early learning (birth through 5 years) care system. Year One budget: $280,659/Total budget: $629,889.
Hack Upstate - Careers in Code: A coding bootcamp in the five-county region that teaches computer programming to women and minorities to help combat poverty in Central New York. Provides students with the technical skills they need to obtain internships and entry level software development jobs with local employers after 24 weeks of instruction. Year One budget: $299,384/ Total budget: $618,000.
Projects were awarded to each of the five counties and were distributed as follows Cayuga, two; Cortland, three; Madison, four; Onondaga, 22; and Oswego, three. Five projects also combined multiple counties. The percentage of money distributed corresponds with the total number of people living in poverty in each county.
For a complete list of the 39 chosen projects, click here.
The $30 million for anti-poverty efforts through the AEI complements $20 million the state has already awarded for the New York State Syracuse Promise Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships to Syracuse city school graduates.
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric J. Gertler said, "Economic opportunity only occurs when we have a vigorous partnership that is committed to providing solutions that work for everyone. The Alliance for Economic Inclusion continues to provide those solutions, through strategic programs that create a solid path to success for all Central New Yorkers."
Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) and Deborah Stanley, President of the State University of New York at Oswego said, "Ensuring that economic prosperity and equality is a reality for every person in Central New York is a priority of the Regional Economic Development Council. Through the Alliance for Economic inclusion the council and our state and local partners, we are working to ensure that these projects will benefit every person in all five counties in the region, creating opportunities for all."
Senator Rachel May said, "The Alliance for Economic Inclusion is doing great work in Central New York tackling the many barriers those in poverty face. Investing in long-term opportunities to help grow businesses in our neighborhoods and communities is the best way to not only overcome those barriers but grow businesses and build generational wealth. The Syracuse Urban Partnership and other groups across the 53rd district are doing this work, and I am grateful to the state for continuing to support them."
Assembly Member William A. Barclay said, "These are important investments in Central New York communities that build on efforts to lift people out of poverty and open up opportunities for prosperity. With $30 million in funding, community leaders and local officials can bolster programs to improve early childhood education, provide job training and skill development, and increase the potential for new businesses to grow. These initiatives can deliver immediate help while providing benefits that will be felt well into future."
Assembly Member Gary Finch said, "These are targeted, common-sense efforts to create real opportunities for hardworking people. I'm appreciative for the state's investment. From supporting small business to promoting early childhood education, from investing in our emerging technology sector to expanding internship programs, these are the kind of solutions that prepare people for meaningful careers and provide ladders out of poverty and into the middle class."
Assembly Member Pamela Hunter said, "By working with community leaders and developing programs individualized to those same communities, the Alliance for Economic Inclusion Anti-Poverty Initiative increases the likelihood that these anti-poverty measures will be effective and sustainable. While the number of programs in Onondaga County underscores the disproportionately high rate of poverty in areas such as the Southside of Syracuse, it also shows our commitment to ending generational poverty and helping our families become financially independent through new opportunities."
Assembly Member William B. Magnarelli said, "The projects funded by this round of Alliance for Economic Inclusion hopefully help create change by directly addressing economic inequity. The projects funded are programs that give people the opportunity to learn and the chance to overcome the circumstances that inhibit them from leading more productive lives. "
Assembly Member Al Stirpe said, "One of the great challenges we face in Central New York is generational poverty. Funding for these programs will help address this challenge and give the current generation a fighting chance to break this cycle of poverty. I am especially delighted to see that such outstanding programs, like OnPoint Career Services and SYRUP, are receiving this critically important support."
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "Today marks another positive step forward in our effort to address poverty in our community. While we are encouraged by the recent data emerging, this latest round of the AEI will undoubtedly help us build on our progress. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and his team for their partnership in this effort. Working together, we can ensure that poverty is just a moment in time for someone and not a way of life."
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "Successfully helping people and families lift themselves out of poverty requires consistent and effective cooperation between government and community partners. The Alliance for Economic Inclusion provides both the structure and the resources to accomplish that kind of partnership. AEI has played a critical role in helping the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County make progress in reducing poverty in our community, and we thank Governor Cuomo for his continued support."
The regionally focused AEI initiative was created to tackle health and safety issues, secure affordable housing for those who need it and increase career and technical educational opportunities. Priority was given to initiatives that incorporated features such as addressing systems change, offered cost-effective solutions scalable to a larger audience, collaboration, partnership and/or coalition-based solutions and to sustainable solutions that will exist after the funding period has ended.
Since awarding the first round of AEI funding, which allocated $6.9 million in funding each year, over two years, many of these projects have been successfully implemented and are making a difference in communities throughout Central New York. Over the last year, Onondaga County has also held technical workshops through the region in preparation for this new round of awards, with emphasis being placed on applications that help address transportation barriers faced by many who live in our region. Applications closed on Sept.13, 2019, and the committee received 72 submissions this year.
Accelerating CNY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.