UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon welcomed New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to the Urban Leadership Institute in Utica on Tuesday, August 29 to announce funding for several local initiatives to help local first responders bolster their numbers.

Heastie and Buttenschon announced that $1 million in funding will be helping Safe Schools Mohawk Valley, local nonprofits, and emergency responders recruit new members. According to a statement by Buttenschon, the funds will help meet the recruitment goals of the recipients by bringing in new recruits.

“Our first responders play an essential role in shaping a safe and secure environment for our community to grow,” Assemblywoman Buttenschon said in a statement. “By developing a constructive relationship between them and our youth, we can pave the way for a stronger, safer society. This funding not only supports our young people but also fortifies the bond between our local heroes and those they serve.”

Buttenschon and Heastie said that one of the focal points of the funding was the Urban Leadership Institute, the five-day conference hosted by Safe Schools Mohawk Valley. The program empowers students by equipping them with experiences to enhance their college and career prospects.

In addition to Safe Schools Mohawk Valley, other recipients of the funding include:

  • Oneida County Fire Chiefs Association
  • Oneida County Law Enforcement Coalition
  • Midstate EMS
  • Rome and Utica NAACP
  • Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps
  • Veteran’s Outreach Center in Utica
  • Rome YMCA
  • The Center in Utica
  • Oneida County Emergency Services
  • City of Utica Police and Fire
  • City of Rome Police and Fire

Funding for the above organizations will be used to help bolster recruitment efforts within those organizations. “Over the past few years, the recruitment of first responders has become extremely difficult and agencies across our nation are approaching, or are facing, critical staffing shortages,” Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said in a statement. “Thinking outside of the box by everyone is necessary as we navigate through this challenge and this funding will help us do just that and I thank the Assemblywoman for making this happen.”