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Thread: APA response to high planning unemployment: is there any?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    APA response to high planning unemployment: is there any?

    The Irish Planning Institute has a task force to address the issue of high unemployment among planners and recent graduates.

    The Royal Town Planning Institute has established a registry of unemployed planners, and a "Recession Support" section of their Web site, The RTPI also recently established the Built Up program. From the site:

    The Build Up programme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Economic Challenge Investment Fund for Sector Re-skilling and the City of Westminster’s Westminster Works programme. This innovative programme of workshops, short courses and projects provides participants with a unique opportunity to re-evaluate their careers and enhance their skills in preparation for the predicted up-turn in the economy.

    Aimed at unemployed or under-employed built environment professionals, Build Up is offering 1,500 FREE places on the programme, which runs until the end of September 2010.

    Aside from reduced dues and an article in Planning magazine a while back, does the APA have any sort of special program or initiative to help unemployed planners maintain their skills or get back on their feet?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    APA's response is to buy more books!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Aside from reduced dues and an article in Planning magazine a while back, does the APA have any sort of special program or initiative to help unemployed planners maintain their skills or get back on their feet?
    IIRC this is the first year I've gotten multiple reminders to pay my good money to say I'm affiliated with Planning magazine and get a discount to a national conf I won't go to unless I speak at it.

    So maybe they are trying to collect more dues to discount conference fees for the unemployed...

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    At this point I think the APA exists as a maximum profit extraction entity only.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by azmodela View post
    APA's response is to buy more books!
    Or join one of those highly coveted divisions.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  6. #6
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I'm reminded of the scene in Goodfellas when Pauly bankrolled the guy who opened the Bamboo Lounge and then had his crew extort him mercilessly and loot the place for all it was worth. The poor sucker begged Pauly for mercy but Pauly had none. "EFF YOU! PAY ME!" was his response. That's kind of how the APA treats its membership- "EFF YOU! PAY ME!"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Or join one of those highly coveted divisions.
    Or attend expensive far off conferences where you can network with people who are not hiring!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    At this point I think the APA exists as a maximum profit extraction entity only.
    At THIS point? LOL I was a dues paying member for 20 years and that's ALL it ever was.

    EDIT: Note I said "was"

  9. #9
    APA has done a great job convincing planners to be a member in a profession where no license is, or ever could be, required to practice.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    What have you done for me lately....ever?

    I cannot think of one thing that the APA and/or the AICP has ever done for my benefit.

    The APA, as far as I can tell, pretty much exists simply to galumph around harrumphing and fluffing it's own feathers.

    I'm still trying to figure out the benefit of having my AICP except for the fact that those that are hiring seem to place that as a "preferred" or "required" item for those applying.

    Quite frankly, APA lost me when they supported the theft of land in the Kelo debacle - acting for the benefit of the public my rear end.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cloverhill's avatar
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    APA Value

    Not sure what APA can really do. Put out a Tech Memo?

    Budgets are imploding, land development is non-existent, and the pitchfork and torch crew shows up at every budget hearing. If I were an unemployed member the very first thing I'd cut is APA membership and then I'd wonder why I wasted some much money on membership in the past.

    That said, I dropped APA membership years ago when my employer stopped paying. Gotta wonder how long APA is going to remain relevant with so many planners leaving the profession, so many unable to get started, and so many leaving the ranks because they are fed up with their relentless money-grubbing.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Scout's avatar
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    I wonder how many of the unemployed planners on these pages use the APA website for their daily job search? Many Cyburbian members are making plans to attend the national conference next month, and I know many of you are planning a Cyburbia gathering/pub crawl while at the conference. Surely these planners recognize some benefit from attending beyond networking with other Cyburbians and hitting the bottle with buddies. Do the ample opportunities to network and learn have anything to do with it? AICP is expensive for sure, but has anyone taken advantage of the free podcasts and training? AICP or not, I think the free web training is available to any APA member. I listened to two broadcasts in the past few weeks; one on the earliest cities and the other on food planning. Fantastic information provided in each.

    If you're going to spend the type of money that APA/AICP membership requires, you need to take advantage of all that it offers regardless of employment status. Do they need to do more to support unemployed planners? I think at the very least APA needs to waive national dues for those who are chronically unemployed. Additionally, I think it would be beneficial for local chapters to offer specific training/retooling courses for those who are unemployed. These should be free of charge, offer AICP credits and be provided by those of us who are gainfully employed. APA should, in return, offer AICP credits and/or reduced national dues for the trainer.
    In silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and watch how the pattern improves - Rumi

  13. #13
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    I have mixed feelings on the APA. On one hand I wish they would do more to advocate for the profession. I think the whole CM requirements for AICP, while cumbersome and poorly executed, are a good first step to legitimizing this profession to the eyes of many in the world. Unfortunately many of the things the national office does smell like a money grab to me. The amount of junk mail I receive for their Planners Book Service is astounding.

    At the same time I think the APA does provide some excellent resources. I am lucky enough to be a part of the APA's Early Career Program. I joined APA as a student and received 3 years of student membership and I am now in the middle of my 2 years of New Professional membership. My dues are significantly lower than if I was considered a regular member. Even though the number of planning jobs are significantly lower now, the APA jobs site is an excellent tool for finding a job.

    In my expeierence I have gotten a lot more out of my membership in the state chapters. In both Minnesota and Indiana, the state chapters were very active and focused on issues all around the state. Both states held training opportunities that were affordable and relevant. So far my experience with the Illinois APA has not been the best as they are very Chicago-centric. They do have a downstate section, complete with a conference, but I have yet to attend any of their events.

    The APA does grant exemptions for AICP members who are unemployed and unable to meet their CM credits. I would like to see the APA start an unemployed dues category and make the dues very affordable, similar to the student dues. Finally, I thought I heard that the APA did set up a task force looking at these issues at last year's APA conference, but I haven't heard what, if anything hthat has came out of the task force.

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I am far, far, far away from being an APA apologist, but I can tell you that APA today versus 2-3 years ago is a significant improvement. Conference quality is improving, as well as availability of low/no-cost continuing education. They need to do more, but it is better than it was. I think they are still trying to figure out the advocacy issue--it seems they are a bit uncomfortable with it because so much of its membership works in the public sector.

    "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)

  15. #15
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    I am far, far, far away from being an APA apologist, but I can tell you that APA today versus 2-3 years ago is a significant improvement. Conference quality is improving, as well as availability of low/no-cost continuing education. They need to do more, but it is better than it was. I think they are still trying to figure out the advocacy issue--it seems they are a bit uncomfortable with it because so much of its membership works in the public sector.
    I agree with what you wrote, absolutely. I know these threads always turn into general discussions abut the APA, but many of the issues Cyburbians have had with the APA five or ten years ago have indeed changed for the better. The conferences are always great, and the APA is getting more proactive and taking an activist role when it comes to planning and environmental issues.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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