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Poll results: Are MPOs good places to start out in the planning profession?

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  • Good

    6 35.29%
  • Bad

    2 11.76%
  • Indifferent

    9 52.94%
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Thread: MPOs = Good or Bad First Job / Internship ?

  1. #1
         
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    MPOs = Good or Bad First Job / Internship ?

    On one of the threads in the Student Lounge, SCCOTS expressed qualms about MPOs as places for internships. Does anyone have any feelings, one way or the other, about MPOs and why they would or wouldn't be a good place to get some experience?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    One of my internships was at OCPC in Brockton. I thought it was great at the time (except for the commute). I was at a housing authroity before that and at OCPC I was suddenly working with lots of planners on regional plans, town comp plans, and got to work on my masters research project at work. In some ways MPO's are better for students because the planning is more theoretical and forward thinking then for a municipality. They also hire lots of interns. The down side is they're not very "real world."

    When I graduated and worked there full time I was gone within a year because of the realization that no one cares what the MPO thinks and the pay was very low considering I got married and had a baby. There was a lot of turnover there at the time. I do miss the actual planning though. I thought I wanted municipal experience, but I've had quite enough now, thank you.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Honestly I think ANY internship is better than no internship.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Good, if it reflects your interests. Since the MPOs here deal with transportation issues, and transportation planners seem to always be in short supply in FL, it would be a good move in this area.

    If you're dealing with a more generalist type of organization, I would say go for it, since it would give you the "big picture" of planning in your area.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    I think it depends on what kind of planning you want to do and the focus of the MPO with which you are working . Here in the Midwest, in my experience anyway, most of the MPO's exist mostly to administer Federal transportation dollars and do transportation planning in order to meet Federal requirements. However, there are many exceptions and some MPO's provide more traditional land use planning services, as well as economic development programs, environmental compliance, and GIS. If your interests go beyond transportation planning, make sure that the MPO will give you opportunities to work in several areas. Starting out at an MPO may give you a breadth of experience you might not get working for a municipality, so it could be a very good way to start your career. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    An MPO will exposure to some broad planning topics as well as help you to establish contacts across a wide area. Definitly a good move if you can get into one.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Re: MPOs = Good or Bad First Job / Internship ?

    Originally posted by j_deuce
    .... MPOs ....?
    What is an MPO?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    A MPO is municipal planning organization. My understanding is they are concerned with long range planning and intergovernmental cooperation to address regional planning issues.

  9. #9
         
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    For instance, the Boston MPO (http://www.ctps.org/bostonmpo/index.htm is "composed of seven agencies, seven municipalities, and a public advisory committee that collectively carry out the federally mandated "continuing, comprehensive and cooperative" (3C) transportation planning process for the region."

    They were most recently quoted in the paper opining about proposed public transportation fare hikes.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Metropolitan Planning Organization ... the Philly MPO is the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission which is comprised of a bunch of SE PA counties and several South NJ counties.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Originally posted by Jen
    A MPO is municipal planning organization. My understanding is they are concerned with long range planning and intergovernmental cooperation to address regional planning issues.
    Sounds seditious. As a career prospect I'd say it would only be suitable for people with a beard, a hemp suit and an aversion to underarm deodorant (and I don't mean crystals). So back to the original question - if that sounds like you - form a circle, join hands and a bright light will show you the way. Intergovernmental cooperation ....... I thought it was a competition?

    Um sorry - it is Saturday 12.35 am and I am being rude. (java script, strikethrough)OMP's (/strikethrough) MPO's sound good. Who pays the bills, by the way? We don't have them in Australia so I think you should disregard my comments.

    Edit: The Fed's pay the bills - fair enough - it's not like real money then.

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