What are the Different Economic Development Jobs?

Jeany Miller
Jeany Miller
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Economic development jobs may be available with many different regional entities. These positions often strive to improve the living conditions of an area or population. As such, an economic development director may work for government agencies to identify the interests of ctizens, while a representative may market the products and services of a region. An economic development consultant may work for an agency that offers business analysis to corporations, and a specialist may work in a college or university. Each of these posts often functions differently to improve social, environmental and financial wealth.

Economic development largely pertains to increasing the living standard of a region or population. This can be achieved with a number of methods, such as generating jobs, retaining current jobs, cultivating real estate and inviting commercial or industrial organizations into an area. While quality of life often factors into economic development, this subject is likely to target social and environmental improvements as well. Some development agencies work to improve the conditions of impoverished areas, while others promote tourism, housing opportunities and business incentives for entire localities. Economic development jobs are thus likely to exist with a number of different organizations and in many regions of the world.

Local and national governments often have internal departments that identify and manage the interests of its citizens. Such departments are likely to be overseen by the director of economic development, who often works to promote working relationships with prospective businesses on a regional and international scale. This director usually strives to lure new companies who can increase individual and governmental wealth. He or she may do so by promoting the living and business opportunities of an area while coordinating with other staff members.

Such economic development jobs often encompass many different aspects of business and governmental policies. The director's functions, for example, may directly relate to public relations, real estate negotiations and public speaking. Candidates may thus need to understand local or national budgets, financial transactions and public/private partnerships.

An economic development representative may also be found with local or national government agencies. Unlike a director, who likely tries to promote local wealth, the representative may market a region’s products and services on both national and international levels. Job duties may thus include arranging for on-site evaluations of communities, industrial sites and buildings to entice community officials and company representatives. This position may also provide community assistance in developing financial and economic growth, tourism and film production. Another aspect of this job may be involve market research on behalf of local companies for appearances at domestic and international trade shows.

Consulting companies are likely to help organizations align resources with public priorities. While government agencies are often concerned with improving the lives of citizens, corporations may need guidance with responding to economic challenges and preparing for changes in the future. An economic development consultant may therefore conduct research for and provide analysis of specific community interventions, urban sustainability and impact assessment frameworks.

Additional economic development jobs in consulting or government sectors may involve entry-level responsibilities. An economic development analyst, for example, may assist with various programs and projects. Specific functions may include conducting research, preparing promotional items for a program and serving as the contact person for community entities. This person may also handle social media, create marketing materials and distribute demographical and statistical information.

In addition to government agencies and consultants, colleges and universities may also maintain interest in economic development. These institutions may want to stimulate research commercialization or execute training programs in green building and health information technology. Such instances are likely to provide funds to the colleges and also develop their immediate regions.

Accordingly, opportunity may exist for an economic development specialist who works on-campus. His or her job focus is likely to include analysis of manufacturing extensions, strategic corporate partnerships, asset-based developments and entrepreneurships. This person may also conduct research on the economic impact of various employers, feasibility studies concerning the environment and housing market analyses. Such research may lead to new programs for economically distressed areas.

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