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Relocation (?)

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#1
I was wondering, is relocation for a job possible as a Planner? Everytime I browse through job postings outside of where I live, the ads always ask for "experience with state or local blah blah blah"

Are there any planners on the board that relocated elsewhere without any problems? If so, do you work in a public or private sector? And is that what made the difference?

Hmm, I ask too many questions...!!

Np_f
 
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#2
Apply any ways.

I went to School in Michigan, moved to PA, then moved back to Michigan. This is my first job in Michigan, but it asked for experience in the state. The only thing that I had to do was get a Michigan Drivers License before I could start. If you apply what is the worse that they can say, No? But at least you tried.
 

martini

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#3
You're not the only one! I see this and wonder as well. I see myself as a reasonably intelligent person, and know that I could easily learn and know the individaul state rules in a decent amount of time. Frankly, this whole job hunting thing is frustrating. Every one wants expereince, but with out being hired, how are we supposed to GET that experience?

Riddle me that!
 
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#4
Thanks for the ressurance, Michael!! Here's hoping!

Martini, I know exactly what you're talking about and where you are coming from!! I consider myself a fast learner, and if I were given the chance I could learn the ins and outs of the local/state. So,

Thank goodness before I graduate I'll be required to complete a 3-month internship. In grad school, I was told I will be required to do another one- which is great!! But at the same time, soooooo many job postings want 5+ years experience! <Bleah>

Plain and simple: I want a good job, regardless of which state, county, city, town, or village it's in.

Ok I'm off the soapbox.
 

donk

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#5
I'm having a hard time relocating based on knowledge of the law.

The last three job interviews I've had questioned my ability to learn their act. My response always is that I know the section is in there, it may just take me a bit longer to find it. I also add, would you prefer someone who knows why the section is in there and how to make it work or a person who only knows exactly where to find the section, but can't think for themselves.

Maybe I have to change my answer.

Hopefully Dan will wade in on this subject.
 
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#6
I think it also depends on where you are looking. In California, for instance, the myriad CEQA and other regulations make experience in that state more desirable. I suspect that cities in CA favor grads from CA planning schools because they probably include CEQA, et al, in their curricula. Florida with its planning laws is probably similar. Places like Portland and the Twin Cities, with their metropolitan systems, likely prefer locals who can navigate those additional bureaucracies. However, every place needs its entry level planners who can learn on the job, since more experienced planners demand higher pay and many cities don't want to pay them or can't afford them.

If you look in most other parts of the country, however, I suspect that you will be able to find work. I have worked in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin and never found as I moved to each state that a lack of prior experience there was a barrier. Good luck.
 
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#7
michaelskis said:
...The only thing that I had to do was get a Michigan Drivers License before I could start...
Why do employers care what state your license is in? I am in commuting distance of 2 other states, and I've seen this requirement. Should I somehow have 3 drivers licenses? Or is the point to hire in-state residents and not hire out of state workers like me even though I might be closer than other applicants in their state?
 
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#8
Decatur hit it right on. I actually did manage to get interviews in California, and found that CEQA appears to dominate their thoughts. In most other states the questions I was asked were more oriented to theory than to any specifics of state law or local ordinances. The other qualifiers that I will add is that 1) consultants prefer to hire people with knowledge of laws applicable in the states in which they do most of their work, and 2) current planners have more need to know local and state regulations than do long-range, transportation, redevelopment, or other types of planners.

Donk, I would not change your answer much. Anybody moving to a new community is going to have to take some time to learn the city's ordinances. There is little real difference in the planning theory or legal foundation of the regulations. The only difference is how each individual code is written and organized.
 
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#9
Apply, apply, apply. That is the only way to find a planning job, unless you are lucky enough to secure a position in a place you've interned.

When I finished my grad school coursework, I got a six-month job with the state Dept. of Commerce to write a planning board handbook. After finishing that contract, I had a long, long wait before I secured another position. I applied for every entry level planning board I could find - as far east as Iowa and as far west as the Pacific Ocean and as far south as Colorado. Finally I found a position in Ketchikan Alaska, and yes, that is a heck of a relocation. Then I bided my time, better learning my craft, until I was able to relocate yet again to Helena, Montana. I am very lucky because I now work in the place I wanted to work in all along.

So, yes. Apply for whatever suits your needs and wants. You will probably have to relocate. Make sure your car runs well and get your camping equipment in shape. I camped out in a couple KOAs while running to and from interviews.

I've only worked in the public sector.
 
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#10
np_f said:
But at the same time, soooooo many job postings want 5+ years experience! <Bleah>

Plain and simple: I want a good job, regardless of which state, county, city, town, or village it's in.

Ok I'm off the soapbox.
You have to apply for any job you see that you meet the qualifications. My first job was in Montana. Last in the nation for average planner pay with 1-5 years experience. Just get your foot in the door. You have some intern experience which is great. Hard to get a job without it. All places know that entry planners usually don't stay around long. Use it to your benefit and the benefit of your resume. Who knows? Maybe you will like where you start and there will be room for advancement.
 
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#11
Seabishop said:
Why do employers care what state your license is in? I am in commuting distance of 2 other states, and I've seen this requirement. Should I somehow have 3 drivers licenses? Or is the point to hire in-state residents and not hire out of state workers like me even though I might be closer than other applicants in their state?
I had to because we have to drive a city car, and the insurance requires that everyone who uses it has a Michigan Divers License. I picked one up the day before I started.
 
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#12
michaelskis said:
I had to because we have to drive a city car, and the insurance requires that everyone who uses it has a Michigan Divers License. I picked one up the day before I started.
Insurance, of course! It may make sense in some places but in others near state lines it cuts off some potential applicants.
 

donk

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#13
Cardinal said:

Donk, I would not change your answer much. Anybody moving to a new community is going to have to take some time to learn the city's ordinances. There is little real difference in the planning theory or legal foundation of the regulations. The only difference is how each individual code is written and organized.
I'll let you all know how the answer goes over this time, I have 2 interviews next week outside my current jurisdiction.

EDIT adding

Just a further update, I will definitely be the expert on this after next week, 3 interviews in 3 different jurisdictions (2 provinces and 1 state).

Now to just close the deal on any of them.
 
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#14
DecaturHawk said:
CA favor grads from CA planning schools because they probably include CEQA, et al, in their curricula.
I graduated from a California planning school and, yes indeed, CEQA, the state subdivision map act, and state planning & zoning law is part of the curricula. I was in CA for 17 years and only worked with one other planner not from CA. He was a dept head in a relatively large planning dept so it wasn't essential that he had a working knowledge of CA development regulations (he was initially brought on to head the General Plan update). However, in smaller CA jurisdications, all planners need that training and knowledge.
 
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#15
I find this sad. When I hire, I am interested in someone who can read, understand, and apply statutes and regulations. If you can get through the bureaucratic legalize in one area, you can do it anywhere. I ask for this ability, but not geared to a specific state.
 
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#16
mike gurnee said:
I find this sad. When I hire, I am interested in someone who can read, understand, and apply statutes and regulations. If you can get through the bureaucratic legalize in one area, you can do it anywhere. I ask for this ability, but not geared to a specific state.
In some respects I agree with you Mike. But when I was managing in California, I prefered to invest my time in training my new hires in the local land use regulations. MQs of everywhere I worked required knowledge and training in state regs including CEQA, map act, and state planning and zoning law. I confess that I never hired someone who wasn't from CA.
 

BKM

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#17
My experience in California is slightly different. My education was at the University of Virginia-a state with a legal/regulatory environment/philosophy quite a bit different than California. My first job was in Tennessee.

My co-workers have mostly worked in California, though. However, I agree that you can learn CEQA and California Planning and Development law. The reality is, it is continuously changing anyway, so we, and the current planners in particular, in my midsized department are constantly attending classes and workshops on changes in planning law.

However, you are right that California-trained people will have an edge when there is competition for California jobs. But, that is true elsewhere-I applied for a job in Washington State and the letter listed that as one of the reasons.

Good Luck!
 

donk

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#18
The answer and philosophy that I understand planning and can learn law is still not working. :(

One more PFO for the pile, the verbage used "Not enough experience with our planning legislation"

It could also be that it is easiest to say that to an out of province person.

Hear back from the other interview sometime in January.

Cancelled the third interview, just could not face the drive(10 hours in one day).

I'm thinking it it is time for a career change (0 for 11 since March)
 

tsc

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#19
I know where I work there is a concern of hiring out-of-staters for land use planners. NYS is heavy into home-rule and from what I understand it much different than other states.

NJ also requires that you take a test in their state to be certified.... and add PP to the end of your name!

As for other avenues of planning.... environmental,,, transportation...etc... out-of-staters are fine.

As for experience... get an internship to get some experience under you belt...or start at smaller city where they hire with no expereience.
 

Chicago

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#20
I have somewhat of the opposite question to this thread.

Many people are talking about how they apply for jobs in other parts of the country and have lived in several different states and so on.

My question is what if I dont want to relocate at all? I am from Chicago and I want to stay in Chicago no matter what. Why? because I have a life with attachments here, my family has lived in Chicago for generations and all of my family, friends, and loved ones live here. They are more important to me than money or my career. There is no way I could apply for a job in some random place that I have no attachment to at all. Chicago is a very large city and if I applied for every planning or pseudo planning job in downtown Chicago I am sure I would find something, I would be willing to even look for jobs outside of planning, anything that pays enough money to rent a studio apartment in downtown Chicago where I live now. In addition people talk about driving 10 hours to interviews, well I dont even own a car and dont attend to. In fact I probably wont even apply for a job that cant be reached via public transportation unless the job makes enough money to completly offset the cost of car ownership and have more disposable income than living without a car which is unlikely. I actually quite loathe the whole idea of relocation.
 
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