Monday, January 25, 2010

Understanding the Unserviced Workforce

Today's post is a guest post from Stuart Mease, of Connecting People. Stuart will be leading a FREE webinar for the Economic Development Division on Understanding the Unserviced Workforce on June 25th. Visit to register for the webinar.

With the start to any new year, resolutions are made and are either kept or broken. Many will make resolutions to find a new job or become employed again. As one starts their job search process, ask yourself which one of the three segments of the workforce fits you – white collar, blue collar, or are you like me, a member of the unserviced workforce? Let’s define each segment.

White collar professional workers are being serviced by private third-party groups (headhunters). Typically their skill sets are in high demand and companies are paying a premium for their services. Professions such as health care, engineering, information technology, accounting, architecture are all in high demand, regardless of region. These workers are coveted because they will most likely drive the regional economy forward.

The blue collar skilled workers are being serviced by public third-party agencies (community colleges, workforce investment boards, employment commissions, etc.). Typically their skill sets are in high demand and companies try to create a pool of candidates to become trained to perform these jobs. Professions such as manufacturing, trades, technicians are all in high demand. These workers are coveted because they can stall the regional economy from moving forward.

The unserviced workforce is caught in the middle. Neither the public nor private sector is serving this group. This segment of the workforce can be characterized as: younger with potential or upside; has some form of higher education; has good skill sets, but not billable skill sets, which are in demand; and are looking for a “professional” job paying a salary between $30-$60k. This is the critical mass of knowledge workers who are underemployed, overeducated and are job hunting.

Members of the unserviced workforce will be forced to do one of these seven things:
1. Acquire new skills through formal education and move up in the workforce ladder
2. Humble themselves and take a job or jobs lower in the workforce ladder
3. Start a business
4. Continue to stay in the unserviced workforce by looking and finding lateral jobs
5. Remain unemployed for an extended amount of time
6. Leave the region for opportunities in others areas
7. Retire, if able

Those who complete their job resolutions in 2010 will pick options 1, 2 or 3. Those who come short will pick options 4 thru 7. Our region and economy need these job seekers to successfully achieve their resolutions. Get out of the unserviced workforce in 2010. For more help getting out of the unserviced workforce, go to

Friday, January 15, 2010

Member Profie: Dr. Terry Holzheimer, FAICP

Our inaugural member profile features, Dr. Terry Holzehimer, FAICP, Director of Arlington Economic Development and former Chair of EDD and current chair of the American Planning Association's Division's Council. Dr. Holzheimer also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech's graduate program in Urban Affairs and Planning where he teaches Urban Economy and Public Policy and Economic Analysis Methods.

To visit the website of Arlington Economic Development click here. To read Dr. Holzheimer's Virginia Tech biography click here.

What attracted you to the field of economic development planning?

I worked my way through college as a draftsman in the Highway Design Section of a public works department while majoring in economics. I was destined to put economics and city building together as a career. I don’t see how the two can be separated.

What do you do in your job? What aspects of your job are the most meaningful and exciting? What aspects of your job do you enjoy the least?
I head an economic development program with a very broad mandate. We do the traditional recruitment/retention/small business activities, but also run the tourism program and we operate as a quasi-redevelopment authority. I love it all! Nothing gets the blood flowing like competition for a major employer; it may be old fashioned, but elephant hunting is alive and well in economic development. Building cities is a passion of our staff, and turning obsolete sites into exciting projects is incredibly rewarding. We are also heavily involved in the planning process where development economics is a fundamental part of our plans. So, there is the instantaneous gratification of winning a deal; the three to five year effort of developing a great project; and the 30 year horizon of good planning – what’s not to like? I am a planner but not a regulator and I tend to see rules and regulations as obstacles. My favorite book is First Break All the Rules. No one will ever think of me as planning director material, I have found my calling.

You are currently Chair of APA’s Division’s Council. What other APA leadership roles have you held in the past, and how have you seen APA grow over the years?
I really became active in APA about 15 years ago, presenting at conferences and doing various tasks for the Economic Development Division. I ran for Chair-elect and lost and then was nominated again two years later and was elected. The leadership track does keep you involved for awhile: two years as Chair-Elect, two years as Chair, and then two years on the Executive Committee as Past Chair. I then served as Vice Chair of the Divisions Council and now Chair. I believe that the Divisions are a great way to build both knowledge and a network in a specialty like economic development. We have worked hard to create opportunities for greater member participation in a way that is relevant and adds value to the membership. This blog is a great example.

In your role as an adjunct faculty member of Virginia Tech’s graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning you play a role in educating future planners. Is there anything you wish was incorporated in planning education that currently is not?
Putting my bias to the fore, I do not think that planners have enough grounding in development economics. I am not sure that planning students also get enough training in basic land use and plans review. There is a tendency to promote topics that are engaging at the expense of the basics. After all, graduates need to be able to get jobs as planners when they leave school. The current recession has had a severe impact on the capacity of state and local governments.

How do you see the economic development planners aiding jurisdictions in riding out the recession? Are there any other current or future challenges that should be of particular importance to economic development planners?

Planners can play an essential role in providing for the economic sustainability of their communities. Good plans beget great communities. Short term actions guided by a long term plan and strategy are the best bet for building a city.

Do you have any after hours hobbies that you want to share?
After my job in economic development, my teaching, and my work with APA, I try to find time for an occasional dinner with my wife and an even more occasional hockey game with my daughter. Go CAP

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Donald Hunter Economic Development Planning Award

Economic Development Planning pioneer, EDD volunteer and founder of Hunter Interests, Don E. Hunter, died peacefully December 30, 2009, in Annapolis, Md., after losing a valiant battle with a rare form of leukemia. Don was president of Hunter Interests Inc., an award-winning real estate development and consulting firm based in Annapolis, whose clients included local governments, public development organizations and large and small developers. Formerly co-owner of Zuchelli, Hunter & Associates Inc., Don founded Hunter Interests in 1986 and conducted independent consulting assignments nationwide for over 38 years. His firm' s combined experience as developer and economic consultant was unique in business and commanded respect from development companies and financial institutions throughout the country. Active for two decades in several national professional organizations. You can read his full obituary here.

The Economic Development Division has named our Economic Development Planning Award after Don Hunter to honor him for his long career in economic development planning. Don served as our Chair and was a great friend and colleague to many of us over many years. He will be fondly remembered.

The deadline for award nomination submissions is February 12, 2010. For more information the award visit the Division's website.