Economic Development Advising Pathway

Economic Development Advising Pathway


Greg Schrock (lead), Jenny Liu, Yu Xiao


Economic development planners focus on the creation and implementation of plans, policies and strategies that promote economic opportunity and prosperity within communities and regions. Their work focuses on planning interventions in the built environment that directly impact commercial and industrial development activities; support for private and public investment in business, workforce and institutional (eg, university) innovation and capabilities; policies and strategies to target development outcomes toward marginalized communities and populations; and efforts to promote more environmentally and socially sustainable development practices.

Economic development planners are recommended to have a solid background and familiarity with urban economic theory and moderate to high level of capability with quantitative information and statistics.    

Planning careers in economic development include the following pathways:

Pathway Examples of Agencies and Organizations
Land Use and Real Estate Development:
These careers involve working in or with local and regional public-sector planning agencies to promote commercial and industrial development on a regional, city-wide or district-level basis.  See Also: Land Use Advising Pathway

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
City of Vancouver (WA)
City of Beaverton

Business, Entrepreneurship, Technology-based, and Sustainable Development:
These careers involve working directly with businesses to promote investment, new business formation and growth, and innovation activities, including development of clean/sustainable technologies.   See Also: Environment Advising Pathway
Prosper Portland
Greater Portland Inc.
Business Oregon
Mid-Columbia Economic Development District
Columbia River Economic Development Council
Workforce and Community Economic Development:
These careers involve working in or with public agencies, education and training organizations and institutions, and/or community-based organizations, to promote economic opportunity and mobility, especially for marginalized populations or communities. See Also: Community Development Advising Pathway
Worksystems Inc.
Clackamas Workforce Partnership
Hacienda CDC
Our 42nd NPI District
Venture Portland
Research and Economic Analysis:
These careers involve using economic analysis tools to assess policy and support public and private-sector decision-making in each of the areas above.  
PSU Northwest Economic Research Center
FCS Group

Foundational knowledge and skills:

Capabilities Course Type
Advanced knowledge of regional development theory, including theories of industrial location, economic base, economic growth, industrial districts/clusters, innovation and entrepreneurship, arts and cultural economy.

Regional Economic Development (USP 572)

Advanced demographic, industry, labor market, market analysis skills

Regional Economic Analysis (USP 597)

Knowledge of economic development policy tools and practices

Urban Econ Dev’t Policy (USP 517)

Strategic planning and strategy development skills

Urban Econ Dev’t Policy (USP 517)

Economic and fiscal impact analysis, including knowledge of widely-used impact analysis packages (eg, IMPLAN)

Impact Assessment (USP 578)


Recommended course sequencing:

   Fall Winter  Spring
 Year 1 - - USP 572
USP 597
 Year 2 USP 517 USP 578 -

Additional knowledge and skills relevant to the field:

Area Recommended Course(s)
Land use planning and implementation

Land Use Implementation (USP 542)

Real estate development, including pro forma analysis

Real Estate Development I/II (USP 523/546)

Public finance, including development finance tools

State and Local Public Finance (USP 579)

Local public management and public administration principles

[Various courses in PA]

Small business/ entrepreneurship/social entrepreneurship development

[Various courses in SBA]

Sustainable development principles and practice

Sustainable Development Practices (USP 588)

Workforce development policies and practices

Workforce Development (USP 539)

Community and district-level economic development policies and practices Community Economic Development (USP 551), Downtown Revitalization (USP 527)
Advanced data visualization skills

GIS II (USP 592)

Multivariate statistical analysis

Data Analysis II (USP 654)