NYSDOT Podcast Digs into Viaduct Project Workforce

The Syracuse I-81 Viaduct Project is one of the largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects in New York’s history. For that reason, “The D.O.T. P.O.D.” podcast produced by the New York State Department of Transportation, recently took a behind-the-scenes look at this “transformational project,” specifically how the agency is recruiting a locally-based workforce to construct it.

[Above image by NYSDOT]

Guests on this podcast episode included TeNesha Murphy, the community liaison and 1-81 Viaduct Project assistant for NYSDOT; Scott Butler, NYSDOT’s I-81 special assistant; and Deka Dancil, president of the Urban Jobs Task Force.

On the podcast, they talked about the project’s local hire provision that strives to educate, train, and ultimately employ local citizens.

“Syracuse is one of the poorest cities in the nation; right here, we have all these people who do not have access to opportunities,” noted Murphy on the podcast.

“We’re going to bring $2 billion in public investment here [via the Viaduct Project] meaning everybody’s tax dollars will be contributing,” she added. “So we’re saying if there’s this level of public investment coming to the city of Syracuse, we think that ought to be used to address this issue of poverty that we have right here.”

In line with that topic, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently released a video detailing a workforce recruiting Knowledge Session held during its 2023 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis that addressed similar workforce-focused efforts initiated by other state departments of transportation across the country.

Ohio DOT’s Jack Marchbanks at podium. Photo by AASHTO.

Moderated by Shannon Peloquin – a partner with consulting firm McKinsey & Co. – the session’s panelists explored strategies to engage the next generation in state transportation jobs; a crucial effort that involves equity, resilience, environment, and workforce gaps.

This particular AASHTO Knowledge Session focused on appealing to and enabling those just starting their careers to bring new perspectives toward a more sustainable and inclusive transportation future.

By linking evolving industry priorities with a passion for public service, the session highlighted how state DOTs can foster ownership and collaboration to ensure a vibrant and resilient transportation ecosystem for years ahead.

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