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    February 22, 2024

    Funding from Onondaga County Expands ERIE21 to Onondaga & LaFayette School Districts

    Le Moyne College’s ERIE21 program is entering a new phase as the Onondaga Central and LaFayette Central School Districts will now participate in the program, thanks to $250,000 in funding from Onondaga County. Students from the two school districts will begin work in ERIE21’s Lock 1 and Lock 2 starting in spring 2024.

    “Since it was launched in 2017, ERIE21 has focused on providing transformative learning experiences for middle- and high-school students within the Syracuse City School District,” said Le Moyne President Linda LeMura. “Our long-term goal has been to bring those same experiences to students throughout Central New York. Thanks to the generosity of Onondaga County, this goal is now becoming a reality.”

    "With cutting edge companies like JMA Wireless, SAAB, Inficon, Lockheed Martin and many others already calling Onondaga County home, it is imperative that we make strategic investments in our young people now to train them for these high-demand jobs," said County Executive Ryan McMahon. "With Micron soon coming, we must be prepared to meet the moment and create the workforce necessary to fill these jobs. Thanks to our partner at Le Moyne College and their innovative ERIE21 program, students in the City of Syracuse - and now OCS and LaFayette - will be part of that critical effort."

    Lock 1 introduces middle school students to coding, robotics, engineering and quantitative reasoning through after-school and summer programs. Lock 2 provides high school students with academic support and an emphasis on college and career readiness, empowering at-risk students to work toward new possibilities for their futures and careers.

    Over the past seven years, ERIE21 has equipped and empowered hundreds of Syracuse youth to explore career pathways in tech and innovation through a variety of activities and initiatives, including after school coding classes, monthly Tech Saturday events at Le Moyne, tours of local tech-centered businesses, residential summer programs and more.

    The funding from Onondaga County will provide those same transformational experiences to hundreds more young people, including students from the Onondaga Nation.

    Along with President LeMura and County Executive McMahon, Onondaga Central Superintendent Robert Price and Lafayette Superintendent Jeremy Belfield spoke at an event held at Le Moyne to announce the expansion of the ERIE21 program.

    “ERIE21’s tech-centered learning activities and pathways will benefit students by introducing and equipping them with relevant skills for the modern workforce, increasing their job opportunities and preparing them for success in a technology-driven world,” said Onondaga Central Superintendent Robin Price.

    LaFayette Superintendent Jeremy Belfield stated, “As we look forward to these opportunities coming to Central New York in the STEM industry, it is essential that our students are exposed to these exciting fields at the middle school and high school level.”

    ERIE21 - which stands for Educating for our Rising Innovation Economy in the 21st Century - is designed to address the region’s twin problems of persistently high poverty in Syracuse - particularly among black/African American and Latinx residents - and the challenges employers face in attracting and retaining the skilled workers needed to fill current job openings in technology. Focusing on early intervention (middle school) and providing ongoing support to students in high school and college, ERIE21 is strengthening the region’s capacity to develop pathways that generate local talent to feed the growing demand for computational, software and engineering professionals

    Among the entities throughout the Central New York region that ERIE21 has partnered with are M&T Bank, KeyBank, JP Morgan Chase, Empire State Development, the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, CenterStateCEO, MACNY, PEACE Inc. and the Syracuse City School District.

    Shown in photo above are, from left: Superintendent Belfield, ERIE21 Director Amanda Delaney, President LeMura, Superintendent Price, County Executive McMahon.

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