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Thread: Private planning firms

  1. #1
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    Private planning firms

    Hi all,
    Is there a listing of private planning firms? I'm looking for summer internships as a 1st year master's student.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
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    Are you looking in the Bay Area? Try the calapa.org or norcalapa.org consultant directories. Same with the planning.org consultant directory. Some that I can think of off the top of my head in the Bay Area are: URS, Calthorpe & Associates, DKS, Fehr & Peers, Dyett & Bhatia, Cambridge Systematics, Bay Area Economics and PolicyLink (this one's a non-profit).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Doesn't your school have internship postings? Mine did within the department as well as career services department. Internships will be tough to come by in the private sector in this state because of the economy as a lot of firms bid out on what little work is out there, so try diversifying and seeing if a local municipality is looking for interns. Are you looking for paid or unpaid? As stated, try the NorCal APA website, but i recently went on there and it is very slim pickings (only 1 posting).
    Last edited by Raf; 27 Mar 2008 at 6:42 PM. Reason: spelling added info
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
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    Although the market is slowing, the Bay Area is still quite busy... last year I was applying to private firms in the area (coming from across the country, no less) and got pretty good feedback. This was without some amazing resume, just the basics. Make sure to put time into each cover letter/resume and you'll be fine!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    supergeek,

    was it difficult finding work coming from a non-california school? I'm considering attending the GSD, but my wife and I would like to end up in CA (either the Bay Area or Los Angeles). Are private firms a little more willing to hire "foreign" students? Did you study CEQA and all of that jazz on your own?

  6. #6
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    ...[snip]...As stated, try the NorCal APA website, but i recently went on there and it is very slim pickings (only 1 posting).
    The NorCal newletter has a lot of consultant listings.

    http://www.norcalapa.org/assets/chap...er/April08.pdf
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  7. #7
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
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    Hey Seamus - I don't think it was any harder than getting an internship elsewhere. The only difficulty for a summer gig is that you are doing the interview over the phone - which some places don't want to do. But I think most are open to it. The biggest advice I'd say (re: internships) is to know about the housing options. Regardless of how well jobs in the Bay Area pay, they are always worried that you'll bail on them if you're from out of town bc housing is expensive. I found affordable short term housing prior to interviewing, looked up how to get to/from that place using transit, and explained this to interviewers. This helped as they knew that I would be able to commit.

    Once you have some experience working in CA, even if it's a 3 month internship, I think places are more willing to hire you from out of town. I did not study CEQA prior, but I learned about the planning process on the job, which I reiterated on my FT job cover letters.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by supergeek1313 View post
    last year I was applying to private firms in the area (coming from across the country, no less) and got pretty good feedback.
    Unfortunately that was last year. There is definitely work for those with some experience but it is cut-throat in terms of new hires for entry level positions as a lot of firms are experiencing hiring freezes or just opt to not fill positions because of the amount of work that is available. Internship positions tend to be one of those positions in private firms that are excess and if there is work, than they take in students. There are some exceptions to the rule like KTGY group Calthorpe and Associates which has a special internship programs but these programs tend to be very highly competitive.

    Are private firms a little more willing to hire "foreign" students
    Of course they are, as long as you fill the job descriptions that they require. So if a design firm is looking for someone with planning related design and writing skills, and you have them, they will take a shot at you. If you apply at a firm that specializes in CEQA documents and projects for EIRs and don't even know what these acronyms mean, than study up or look elsewhere for employment. As stated before a good resume and cover letter can go a long ways. Good Luck!
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the responses. I will focus on lining up an internship this summer. Your suggestions should help with that.

  10. #10
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    I'd like to ask if master's graduates right out of college looking for their first job should steer clear of private firms, or would it be something to look into?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by lamsalfl View post
    I'd like to ask if master's graduates right out of college looking for their first job should steer clear of private firms, or would it be something to look into?
    Who told you to stay clear of private firms? It depends on what you want to do with your degree. If you are interested in design, there are more opportunities in the private sector. If you are interested in economic development, historic preservation, current and long range planning, transportation planning, etc., then public or private sector jobs might be good. If you are interested in social justice, advocacy, housing, community planning, then a non-for-profit might be a good choice, too.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by crikee View post
    Hi all,
    Is there a listing of private planning firms? I'm looking for summer internships as a 1st year master's student.

    Thanks!

    Look at the ads in the back of the APA magazine. That's a pretty good list.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
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