Roger, a Rescue Mission/Salt City Market Ambassador, stands in front of the Salt City Market.
The Ambassador Program employs Rescue Mission clients to enhance their hospitality and security at the Downtown food hall.
SYRACUSE, N.Y — In a unique and intentional partnership, the Salt City Market and Rescue Mission Alliance of Syracuse have collaborated to create the Ambassador Program, a workforce development initiative that provides employment opportunity for clients of the Rescue Mission and enhances the customer experience at the Salt City Market.
The Ambassador Program’s primary mission is to extend both hospitality and security for the Salt City Market. The friendly and welcoming Ambassadors patrol in and around the market, serving as an extra set of eyes and ears to ensure that guests have the best experience possible. Wiping down the tables, assisting with high chairs, opening doors, answering questions, and helping carry groceries from the Syracuse Cooperative Market to the parking lot are just a few of the Ambassadors’ duties.
The Ambassadors – wearing bright yellow t-shirts featuring the Salt City Market logo – walk the perimeter of the building to deter would-be solicitors. Many of the people chosen for the first cohort of the Ambassadors are current or past patrons of the Rescue Mission, and are familiar with the challenges that can come from the Salt City Market being located near the Mission. The Ambassador program is modeled after a similar initiative launched by the City Mission in Troy, New York.
“We’re excited to be able to lean on the Ambassadors and their specific expertise in human relationships,” says Adam Sudmann, Salt City Market Manager. “They bring so much value, and their crucial in facilitating an environment where everyone feels safe, comfortable, and most of all, welcome.”
The program’s second – and most important – intention is to give Ambassadors the opportunity to build up their work experience and move toward stability and prosperity.
“Partnering with the Rescue Mission residents with the Salt City Market as Ambassadors not only provides valuable on-the-job training and experience in customer service, but also reconnects individuals with the greater Syracuse community,” says Rescue Mission CEO Dan Sieburg. “Moreover, positive interactions with the Ambassadors team smash community stereotypes about what it means to experience homelessness in Central New York.”