Students Visit Affordable Housing Complex for Urban Policy Course

PA783_1Professor Ayse Pamuk’s Urban Housing Policy class (PA 783) visited 474 Natoma– an affordable housing development built by BRIDGE Housing in the SOMA neighborhood.  Completed in 2014, the nine-story multi-family complex offers 60 affordable one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. PA783_3Kristy Wang (SPUR Community Planning Policy Director) and her two BRIDGE Housing colleagues led the tour. The building has a spectacular landscaped terrace at the top floor and a community garden for its residents. The financing involves Low Income Housing Tax Credits.The units are affordable for families below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI).

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Careers in Local Government: Possibilities and Strategies for Success

On October 20, 2015, the MPA Program hosted the first in a series of career development panels focused on careers in local government. Three seasoned professionals shared their experiences and insights related to how students can best prepare for careers in local government. Here are a few highlights from their comments:

IMAG00387[1]Glen Rojas, Advisor, International City Manager Association & Former City Manager, Cities of Menlo Park & Chino, CA, spoke about the importance of interpersonal skills and trust-building in an environment where shared services are increasingly valued. He emphasized that those entering the workforce will benefit from being able to self-manage and adapt to change. Three tips he gave to students were: (1) don’t resist entry level positions; you don’t know where they may take you, (2) strive for a work-life balance throughout your career, and (3) work to add value to any organization you belong to.

Bryan Montgomery, City Manager, City of Oakley, encouraged students to develop a vision for their careers, the story to help narrate that vision, and to take steps to move towards it. He noted that MPAs are often generalists, making them well-suited to leading across agencies and across sectors. In those roles, being able to engender trust from individuals and agencies with diverse perspectives is especially important in being able to successfully negotiate group dynamics. He defined trust as being combination of competence and character and urged students to pay attention to all three.

Chet Overstreet, Supervising Management Analyst, Personnel Division, County of San Mateo, noted that students ought to aim to be purposeful yet flexible in planning their career paths. Having taken a non-traditional career path, he said there was a ‘little bit of providence’ behind his story. He encouraged students to take advantage of growth opportunities as they are presented to them, even if the fit to their interests isn’t immediately apparent (the flexible part), while still be judicious about the positions they accept, to ensure those positions offer appropriate challenges that align with their longer-term goals (the purposeful part).

In the end, the panelists agreed that elements of the nature and locus of work in local government are changing. They expect that skills like negotiation, consensus-building, and teamwork will continue to be important as regionalism and shared service delivery continue to increase. They also noted that work is more likely to be project driven, reflecting an agile workforce model and emphasize the value of having a Master’s degree in that environment.