Community Economic Development Occupation Overview

A Community Economic Development Officer’s primary goal is to achieve the objectives outlined in their community’s Economic Development Plan. This will of course vary from community to community but many factors will be similar. Providing assistance in the development of short and long term economic development plans for the community along with gathering information for future planning. The Community Economic Development Officer creates studies to ascertain what the community’s economic resources and goals are. Reports and recommendations based on these studies are then sent to their Economic Development Committee or appropriate municipal offices. The Community Economic Development Officer must have an understanding and knowledge of their community’s zoning laws, permitting processes and any laws or ordinances around the financing of various economic development plans.

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Some of the duties of a Community Economic Development Officer might include:

  • Researching local zoning ordinances and laws
  • Helping community partners acquire financing for economic development
  • Acting as a liaison with various local, State and Federal agencies.
  • Researching the existing inventory of available buildings, business and residential sites within their community
  • Making recommendations to the appropriate authorities on community economic development
  • Serving as an advocate within the community to pursue goals of their local economic development plan

How Community Economic Development Services Human Beings

The Community Economic Development Officer services human beings in their community by creating economic growth and job opportunities. This is accomplished with input and direction from the local community and governance. Helping to advance the local economy, rejuvenate areas of the community that haven’t been developed. By assisting local small business owners and community partners in understanding zoning ordinances and finding financing solutions the Community Economic Development Officer has a direct impact on the people of their community.

Impact on Society

  • The Community Economic Development Officer has a significant impact on their local community.
  • Some of the ways a Community Economic Development Officer impacts their community include:
  • Educating small business owners and community partners on zoning ordinances
  • Facilitating the acquisition of financing for economic development projects
  • Discovering untapped potential in community real estate
  • Acting as a liaison for the community with potential sources of State and Federal funding
  • Writing comprehensive reports on community economic potential
  • Boosting the local economy
  • Increasing the local tax base
  • Reduces poverty in the community through job creation

Impact on the Individual

Like other Human Services jobs that focus on the macro outlook, the impact on the individual is filtered down from larger change. The greatest benefits to the individual are from job opportunities created through economic development. The individual also can benefit in the form of greater services due to increased economic development and coincident increase in local government tax base.

Impact on the Family

As is the case with the impact on the individual above, the family impact is seen through secondary effects. The family sees an increase in local services through increased economic development. The family benefits from reduction in crime as more job opportunities reduce poverty. Adult members of the family also have greater job opportunities due to economic development in their community.

Education to Join the Workforce

Most employers require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Economics or Community Development. If one wants their resume to really shine and increase their opportunities for advancement then pursuing a Master of Public Planning, Urban Planning, Economic Development or Community Economic Development Masters degree is an excellent idea.

Range of Salaries for this Job

The average annual salary for a community economic development officer on a nationwide basis is $72,900.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019. National average for Social and Community Service ManagersSalaries based on national data not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.

What’s Next to Pursue a Community Economic Development Career?

To get started on your path to a career as a Community Economic Development Officer you will need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Community Development or a related field of study. However, if you want to have your resume stand out and increase your chances of promotion it is wise to attain a Master’s degree. Appropriate degrees would include Master of Public Planning, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Economic Development or Master of Community Economic Development. Here are some excellent universities in your area that offer degree programs in this exciting field!