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Thread: What kind of jobs do planners do with econ specialization

  1. #1
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    What kind of jobs do planners do with econ specialization

    I am eager to know the job oppertunities for a planner with econ development background. Also, is there a necessity for any certification to get good challenging jobs.

    Satya

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    You can definitely fit into a redevelopment agency. They specialize in land use redevelopment and the economics that go into financing the projects.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    I agree, you'd fit in well in a redevelopment or revitalization organization. Also our long range land use division has a section that deals with Commercial Revitalization Districts within our county. Your skills would probably work well in a section like that as well.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
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    Will I need any special software training like SAS/SPSS etc,. ?

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by satyasubha View post
    Will I need any special software training like SAS/SPSS etc,. ?
    SPSS is always useful, IMO. It's sad that so many planners graduate without having experienced a real statistic software.

    You can also find a niche with market studies & analysis for cities. For example, part of our Downtown Master Plan RFP included a request for market analysis to identify target industries/retailers for the downtown area.

    You might get in touch with Cardinal--he is a long-time poster on here that applies his economics background to planning as a consultant.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
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    Thank you very much. I have some knowledge in SPSS.
    But, i wonder if a master degree is enough or a PhD would only
    fetch good challenging jobs. Can anyone from the community help
    me understand this?

    Satya

  7. #7
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My undergrad degrees were in economics and public policy and I am currently pursuing my masters in planning with a concentration in economic development.

    I currently work for a county government in the economic development group of their Planning and Economic Development Services department (I have been here for three months). Our economic development group seems to have three major functions here - market research, business recruitment, and educational services for small businesses (they are also slowly moving the people [two of them] who handle brownfield redevelopment into our group as well). IMO, I had some rather extensive prior experience with SPSS and I never use it here; most of our data analysis seems to be contracted out to local universities (University of Michigan and Oakland University) and I have also discovered that more basic things like averages and medians are asked for much more frequently than complex statistical analysis'.

    I have been told that one of the things that made me stand out above and beyond the other applicants was my background with GIS software. The planning side of the department already has a few techs that are proficient with various GIS applications but they are kept pretty busy and they wanted their own tech on the economic development side. Much of my time is spent running demographic comparisons between our county/region with other comparable counties/regions as well as tracking new developments within our county (due to Michigan's home rule system, the actual cities/villages/townships within the county are not required to provide us with any development updates from inside their borders). The majority of the information I produce is used during business recruitment activities such as trade missions.

    I am somewhat lucky that the county I work in is rather prosperous (especially within the region) and is able to employ an extensive planning and economic development staff. I think that if I plan to stay here for sometime, there are indeed opportunities for advancement into more challenging/rewarding positions (I would love to be more deeply involved with some of the foreign trade missions). I think one of the great things about being in planning and having a background in economics is that it is a pretty broad field and there are openings at all levels of government with the possibility of an elected position down the road (if that is your thing). On the private side, there are jobs out there with developers, market research/advertising firms, regional planning firms and consultants, and colleges and universities.

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    Well, Thank you very much for such an encouraging reply.
    i am glad, there is something interesting that I can do in future.
    I have taken a course in GIS and happy that it would be useful
    for me in future. Do you think an advanced GIS course is required?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by satyasubha View post
    Do you think an advanced GIS course is required?
    That's a hard question to answer and I think it depends a lot on where you are working.

    I think that the law of diminishing returns definitely applies in a lot of instances... you get a lot more benefit from one course in it compared to the added benefit of a second course versus the cost of that course. The mapping projects I produce are not generally for outside, paying customers so I am not too worried about providing commercial quality products and I think this would probably hold true in most economic development type positions (if they want commercial quality GIS products, they will likely be looking more for somebody with an extensive GIS background).

    Also, some organizations will likely be more supportive of sending you to outside GIS training once you are working for them (this has been the case with me and my place of work).

    Lastly, I don't think one extra advanced GIS course under a potential applicant's belt would ever be a negative thing (in my case I had two graduate level courses before coming to my current position) but overall, a basic introductory course is probably enough for most economic development type positions. That first introductory course could be more formal training than many of the applicants for that position may have had to begin with.

  10. #10
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    I heard about Six sigma certification. The course structure for six sigma includes stats and project management.Does anyone think it to be of any use to planners?
    Also, is a membership in the International economic development council useful?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    My undergrad degrees were in economics and public policy and I am currently pursuing my masters in planning with a concentration in economic development.

    I currently work for a county government in the economic development group of their Planning and Economic Development Services department (I have been here for three months). Our economic development group seems to have three major functions here - market research, business recruitment, and educational services for small businesses (they are also slowly moving the people [two of them] who handle brownfield redevelopment into our group as well). IMO, I had some rather extensive prior experience with SPSS and I never use it here; most of our data analysis seems to be contracted out to local universities (University of Michigan and Oakland University) and I have also discovered that more basic things like averages and medians are asked for much more frequently than complex statistical analysis'.

    I have been told that one of the things that made me stand out above and beyond the other applicants was my background with GIS software. The planning side of the department already has a few techs that are proficient with various GIS applications but they are kept pretty busy and they wanted their own tech on the economic development side. Much of my time is spent running demographic comparisons between our county/region with other comparable counties/regions as well as tracking new developments within our county (due to Michigan's home rule system, the actual cities/villages/townships within the county are not required to provide us with any development updates from inside their borders). The majority of the information I produce is used during business recruitment activities such as trade missions.

    I am somewhat lucky that the county I work in is rather prosperous (especially within the region) and is able to employ an extensive planning and economic development staff. I think that if I plan to stay here for sometime, there are indeed opportunities for advancement into more challenging/rewarding positions (I would love to be more deeply involved with some of the foreign trade missions). I think one of the great things about being in planning and having a background in economics is that it is a pretty broad field and there are openings at all levels of government with the possibility of an elected position down the road (if that is your thing). On the private side, there are jobs out there with developers, market research/advertising firms, regional planning firms and consultants, and colleges and universities.
    Out of interest, what do the economic development planners do at your county? Do they go out and try to look for businesses to invest in the county? Would they be involved in preparing regional economic development strategies that show regionally where they would like investments to flow?

    Thanks...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by joshww81 View post
    Out of interest, what do the economic development planners do at your county? Do they go out and try to look for businesses to invest in the county? Would they be involved in preparing regional economic development strategies that show regionally where they would like investments to flow?

    Thanks...
    IMO, our staff have two big jobs that they do to promote economic development within our county: First, they assist small businesses in their start-ups and help the to find financing and provide market analysis services. The second major function of our economic development efforts is to recruit foreign (from both outside the region and the nation) firms to invest here (on these trade missions, they also frequently take representatives from local firms with them in order to help them drum up some foreign business).

    Thinking on a regional level is unheard of in the Detroit Metropolitan area. In the realm of economic advancement, it has largely been each community for themselves with little regard as to how it would affect their neighbors. Things are slowly starting to change and one example that I would cite would be the growth of Automation Alley, which is largely a creation of the County, to include most of the other counties within the region.

  13. #13

    How about transportation?

    Although it might not be the first thing that you think of coming out of an econ program, the transportation arena could provide some good opportunities. When it comes down to it, transportation is largely about supply and demand. In congested cities and in areas where parking is in short supply, a good grasp on microeconomic theory is essential to solving transportation problems.

    From my observation, economic development actually has less to do with "economics" and more to do with politics, business, finance, real estate, etc. than some other areas of planning. I guess it all depends on how you define economics. I tend to think of it as dealing with allocation of scarce resources, but the public usually thinks in terms of economic development, unfortunately.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    You can do whatever you want. I have a specialization in econ dev and I am a Director of Planning for a large suburban jurisdiction. Planning is a field that your interest will take you farther than your specialization.
    Satellite City Enabler

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