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On the Line

March 18, 2013

His name is "Angel," and to one New York resident, he lived up to his name.

“There was one woman who was so happy with the service I provided her, she sang me some opera,” laughs Angel Arroyo, a recent BMCC graduate who currently attends CUNY John Jay. “You get some good-hearted callers here.”

The "here" Angel Arroyo is referring to is the CUNY 311 Call Center, located in Lower Manhattan, where he works part-time as a call representative.

The CUNY/311 Project, a collaboration between the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the City University of New York, provides qualified CUNY students with the opportunity to work as part-time Call Center Representatives within New York City's Customer Service Center.

Founded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CUNY 311 provides New Yorkers with one easy-to-remember number to access all city agencies and services.

So, anytime you call NYC’s helpline number—311—there could be a BMCC student on the line!

Work prep

“Students work an 18-hour work week, in three 6-hour shifts,” explains Kristine Irizarry, Project Coordinator, adding that “the skills are transferable. Working here, in customer service, lays a foundation for any job the students pursue in the future.”

International students are also drawn to the CUNY 311 Call Center, because, says Irizarry, “if they’re bilingual if they can handle calls in more than one language.”

BMCC graduate Fatima Begum, who currently attends York College, also works for CUNY 311. 

“Working here taught me about time management—which, in turn, made me a better, more organized student,” she said.  “When I was at BMCC, I’d often walk from class to work, since the Call Center is only 15 minutes away from BMCC’s main campus."

Begum calls her fellow colleagues “friendly,” adding that the CUNY 311 program is for “those who want to learn, grow, and be willing to help others.”

Adds Arroyo: “You learn a lot working here—how to think on your feet, provide accurate information, and work with many different personalities—it’s all a valuable experience and great for a first office job.”

NOTE: Current CUNY students are eligible to apply to work at the CUNY 311 Call Center on Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan. All potential CUNY 311 employees undergo an on-campus screening to be sure specific requirements are met. For more information, click here.

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