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Thread: Moving to get a start in planning.

  1. #1
    Member
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    Marshfield, WI
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    Moving to get a start in planning.

    Just a quick question - how do you all feel about relocating to a growing area as a means to gain additional exposure? I'm in Central Wisconsin and have found it difficult to even land an internship (many of the departments have only one full-time planner / every city is at minimum 30 miles away). I was thinking either the greater Denver area (rapidly growing, seems to value planning, explosive growth) or Los Angeles (home court advantage as I've lived there in the past, learned CEQA during a class, have a few friends in the field, and know the CA truly values planning).

    It's a tough choice because financially, I'll be fine in any move. I have a work from home job that allows me to kind of set my own hours. This will allow me to intern quite regularly while earning a steady, decent paycheck.

    Would you move or stick it out? Where would you move? Are these choices poor/are there more advisable jurisdictions? I'm also open to either public or private sector planning, though my preference would be public.

    Thanks in advance! This forum has really been helpful.

    One last comment - I haven't had an internship yet. My school required a capstone rather than an internship; so I've worked with a planning department as a student project manager to develop a Neighborhood Plan. That being said, I haven't actually spend a day in current planning or actually collaborated with any planners. I'd be plenty open to internships...

  2. #2
    Member
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    Houston, TX
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    I'm considering a similar move. I'll have my MUP buy the end of the year and I'd like to look outside of Western New York for a full time gig. I think it would be better to pick a region where planning jobs are relatively plentiful and move there, rather than send out resumes all over the world.

    My biggest concern is starting from scratch as far as contacts and references. Being from out of town, I'd likely be at a disadvantage to local planners who are more "in the loop." Since you have friends in the field in LA, I'd suggest you go there.

    Someone posted this link in another thread that you may find helpful...

    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193051.htm

    It shows where planners are by state and metro area. LA is #1 for level of employment in planning.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Southern California has the most planning jobs but it also has the most planners. The competition there for the few available jobs is fierce. Also understand that living in Southern California is very expensive and it is likely that if you ever want to own a home you will probably be commuting by yourself in your own car for about a hour one way. Southern California is great. I grew up there and worked there for about twenty years before I moved to Utah. However, its not the Disneyland that it looks like from a distance.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I know that there are a ton of planning jobs in SoCal, but I also know that they're pumping out new planners like crazy. I was supposed to graduate from a school in LA before moving back to Wisconsin. My graduating class would have had 65+ planners!

    I loved the SoCal lifestyle, but keep thinking about the cost and standard of living in other western states. I've considered CO, UT, AZ, NM, and NV as a result. In all honestly, I haven't considered many eastern or southern states, due to negatively that I've heard in regards to job prospects.

    GButler - Don't worry about the networking all that much. The LA APA chapter has monthly meeting downtown if I remember right. It'll be tough, but it's a great place to start networking.

    smccutchan1 - how do you like UT? I've always feared that the huge presence of the LDS would hinder prospects for someone that isn't incredibly religious. Is this a silly stereotype?

    One more thing I should mention. I'm making this happen at the end of this month. Money has been saved, 30 day notice is in, and I'm mentally ready to go.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by p.gritzmacher View post
    I was thinking either the greater Denver area (rapidly growing, seems to value planning, explosive growth) .
    Things have shut down here, very little construction or other activity going on, just saw an ad for an environmental planner to work part time on call, which is an improvement in what's available. Just when you think you see what appears to be movement and some planning going on, it turns again. And examine your 'seems' more closely. If you can wait tables for 4-5 years waiting out a recovery, you'll love the scenery.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Encinitas, CA
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    Just to add, be aware that the portions of Southern California that have the most development potential also were some of the hardest hit parts of the country when the housing bust hit. This is especially true of the Inland Empire (+/- Riverside/San Bernardino Counties). Areas in CA that weren't hit so hard also tend to be areas that are mostly built-out, or that are not yet "ripe" for development; not much planning to do in such areas.

    So while CA has a high rate of planners per capita, if you're not an experienced CA planner, you'll have a very difficult time landing a position in this market. Almost no cities/counties are hiring, and the private sector isn't doing much better either. Probably the main thing keeping many CA planners employed right now is CEQA.

    Of course, everywhere is bad; apply to whatever you find on-line, take a trip if something seems promising. But don't limit yourself to a single area if your goal is to find a job.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

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