City/State-Wide

The Effects of the CUNY-Amazon Collaboration

Amazon Moves Their Headquarters to NYC

By: Anes Ahmed

Amazon is expanding their headquarters to Long Island City, Queens. (Credit: cuny.edu)

With Amazon moving their headquarters to Long Island City, Queens, CUNY has prepared for them a welcome present: a partnership.

Alongside SUNY, this development has been created to provide a pipeline and opportunities for CUNY alumni and graduates to compete for the available 40,000 new jobs that will come with Amazon’s arrival.

However, this merger can be beneficial and problematic for numerous of reasons. While the intention on CUNY’s end is an honest and hopeful investment, as expressed by CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz, Amazon’s coming can be quite damaging to New York citizens.

 The company’s arrival could potentially lead to exploitation of workers and the gentrification and displacement of neighborhoods and people within the surrounding area.

This would have a negative effect on minority groups, colored communities, and working class folk that make up a wide majority of CUNY’s population.

 This can also have a negative consequence on New York as a whole, especially in the the terms of subway commuting.

With Amazon being situated in New York, this can lead to heavy congestion within subway platforms and extend the travel time it takes for students to get to college, go to work, and arrive at home.

CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. stated that: “CUNY is America’s largest urban university system, and we will commit our considerable college assets to ensure that Amazon has a strong pipeline for talent, ideas and innovation.”

A strong statement, but there are further intricacies that need to be considered.

While it is likely that some CUNY students will be fortunate to nab a career working with Amazon, a large pool of applicants will be coming from around the United States and the globe.

Consider this: the 40,000 available jobs will be extremely competitive and will provide no guarantee of priority to CUNY graduates.

Some of the positive effects that will occur will be the transformative growth of the economy and employment within the coming years. It is undeniable that New York will prosper in a financial sense and will be able to get a diverse workforce working under Amazon.

 The statement made by the CUNY Board of Trustees, who are the people responsible of fiscal affairs is a vitally important statement. It is basically saying that many of the funds directed by the Board will be used to help with ongoing projects.

The project under agreement is that CUNY will be committed to constructing a “10,000-square-foot onsite employment center to connect New Yorkers with jobs and training, and CUNY students stand to benefit from this welcome pathway to tech careers.”

The estimated revenue that will come in support of this project is predicted to be 27.5 billion dollars in the course of 25 years.    

Yet, students have their own opinions on this ordeal. A current response that has generated attention is the student-lead petition and protest that is being supported by students in CUNY colleges, Cornell University, and New York University (NYU).  

The primary concern that is arising from students is that the funds being used in dedication of this partnership can be relocated to make college more accessible and affordable for students (such as reducing or removing college tuition), provide greater resources for campus bodies, and coincide their efforts with the needs of local residents and students.

Developments and details in regards to this partnership will be in further discussion at the CUNY Board of Trustees Fiscal Affairs committee meeting that will be posted on the CUNY website.

This partnership may very well affect the remainder of peoples tenure with CUNY and their residency in New York, so it is highly recommended for students to inform and update themselves on this ongoing advancement.

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