Thursday, August 05, 2010
Economic Development in the northwest: Finishing school for NDI interns
Derek Baker as we outlined on the blog was hired on by the city in July, and he appears to be the start of a wave of former interns at NDI that have sought out and found employment across Northern BC.
Also joining Mr. Baker on the front lines of economic development in the Northwest is Evan Van Dyk, the brother of Donny Van Dyk the recent Liberal candidate for the legislature for Terrace , Evan is also a former intern with NDI, and was recently named as EDO for Terrace's Economic Development office.
Both Mr. Baker and Mr. Van Dyk are featured prominently on the NDI website, which features biographies of both and the work that they were involved with while at the Northern Development Trust.
The NDI website outlines the basic principles of its internship program and highlights the impact that it is having on communities across Northern British Columbia.
Northern Development’s Internship program is a unique initiative focused on identifying talented business graduates from northern educational institutions that are seeking careers in local government and rural economic development. The Internship provides a unique immersed program of training and experience that supports local governments in the region with a resource for recruiting qualified economic development professionals. The program was established earlier this year and is already linking the majority of internships with full-time, permanent Economic Development Officer positions in the region.
A full review of the Intern program can be found here.
The decision to hire on staff from the intern program, appears to indicate a shift of focus by municipal governments across Northern BC.
Rather than seek out experienced personnel with a track record in the economic development field as in the past, instead, there is apparent agreement that selecting the interns of NDI is the best course of action for economic development, focused it seems on the knowledge of the NDI program's grant writing procedures.
The process of selection was seemingly a rather internal affair with the city, very little information came forward when the previous EDO Nellie Cheng left the city's employ and likewise, we never heard much about the process during the selection process that eventually led to Mr. Baker's hiring.
With the exception of a short notice on the city's website after his hiring, we still have little knowledge as to what the focus of Economic development will be going forward from the departure of Ms. Cheng
How the shift from the era of the more established Economic Development officer to the more youthful hiring of the NDI intern translates into actual economic development remains to be seen, but considering the nature of the city's economic situation at the moment it's a shift of focus that will be judged by results over the next few years.