Soulful Synergy Leverages Resources to Help Locals Land Jobs

The Westchester-based organization offers services in workforce, business, and community development for people looking for blue-collar jobs.

Back in 2013, best friends Alejandro Alvarez and Dwayne R. Norris decided they were going to create an organization to help local community members land jobs within the blue-collar industry. Ten years later, they’ve helped over 6,000 people, awarded more than 10,000 certifications, and built around 100 partnerships.

Alvarez, with a background in the construction industry, and Norris, with a background in finance, have guided their lives with one question in particular: what is your why? Creating Soulful Synergy was the answer to that. The organization seeks to empower and advance the community by establishing connections between key stakeholders, increasing access to existing resources, and generating new opportunities for community members.

“We saw different challenges in the way that communities received benefits,” says Norris. “There was a disconnect with how programs were run and how things were leveraged. Our goal was to always be a support to that.”

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The goal? Focus on upward mobility and help people in Westchester take charge of their lives.


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Soulful Synergy provides all different kinds of job training – for free, thanks to local and state funding – and recently launched a new program for those interested in a career in electric vehicles, with the next session coming up at the end of November. The virtual class allows interested folks to learn about the basics of transportation electrification and site feasibility for electric vehicle charging stations. The organization has received significant funding from NYSERDA to help assist with statewide training in energy efficiency principles, which is what makes that training possible.

Beyond that, though, Soulful Synergy helps people get certified in things like CPR, OSHA, fire guard, scaffolding, and more. Without these certifications, candidates are not eligible to join these blue-collar industries.

“Employers tell us candidly this is what people need to have,” Norris explains. “It will make them extremely employable and not a liability. They won’t feel it’s a risk safety-wise.”


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Soulful Synergy has a 5,600-square-foot facility in the City of New Rochelle to help run hands-on training programs. On top of that, it has a large focus on the youth of Westchester. The team goes into school districts and assists middle schoolers with the basic use of hand tools and high schoolers with learning how to frame, build walls, and add lighting. When it comes to young adults 17 to 24 years old, the challenge progresses to build a full mock room.

“It’s much more extensive,” Alvarez notes. “At the core of it is teaching transferable skills that exposes them to a variety of options that help them figure out if they like carpentry, electric, plumbing, and so on.”

The pair wants to help these folks grow within the organization and network. If a participant ends up getting a career and goes on to be a supervisor or foreman, their hope is they go back to them because they understand the caliber of individuals that can come out of Soulful Synergy.

“We want to keep that mentality going,” Alvarez says. “It’s finding the secret sauce and placing people up and helping them excel.”

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That’s possible largely thanks to their mindset that holds empowerment, determination, and grit at the core.


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“We are hoping to showcase a new paradigm of education and how individuals learn and bring passion back into the trades,” adds Alvarez. “We want to continue to grow and bring more trainings to our communities.”

And for those interested, it’s pretty easy to get involved. The offerings exist within a network of nonprofit partners that offer supportive services. All someone has to do to start is meet with a member of Soulful Synergy’s staff to better understand their goals, then move on to be connected with trainings and wraparound services. After connecting an individual with a career, Soulful Synergy continues to support each person by providing additional resources like professional development and job retention.

At the end of the day, it all lends to a bigger picture. Norris notes that while his career in financial services was fulfilling, he is more excited to support the younger generations and share what he wishes he knew at that age.

“We’re building skills that allow them to participate in the economy,” he says. “It bridges the gap and will have long-lasting impacts. The future generations will have a life worth living.”

Related: Infrastructure Jobs Are in High Demand Across Westchester

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