2018 Awards Theme: Economic Mobility

The 2018 Innovations in American Government Award seeks initiatives focused on improving economic and social mobility. By identifying initiatives focused on a single, intractable problem in American society today, we hope to identify those that make government more efficient, more creative, and more effective at addressing the social problem of economic inequity and providing services to the public. In order to be considered eligible to apply, programs must address at least one of the following goals:

  • Increase the prosperity of the community, particularly those that expanded these opportunities to groups that had been historically excluded from access
  • Provide tools to allow individuals to break down barriers to wealth-building or create systemic change aimed at lowering barriers at a macro level
  • Expand access to health care, education, job training, credit, or similar
  • Affect the geography of opportunity through mobility, housing, etc.
  • Demonstrate proven outcomes on employment rates, median wages, intra-generational wealth growth, educational completion, standard of living, productivity, poverty rates, etc.
Examples of efforts that the 2018 Innovations in American Government Award will consider include, but are not limited to, the following types of programs:
  • Banking the unbanked
  • Empowerment zones
  • Welfare reform and innovation
  • Economic development corporations
  • Inclusion of marginalized populations
  • Job training and assistance
  • Free/low-cost childcare and Pre-K
  • Affordable housing
  • Access to government services
  • City accelerators
  • Innovation districts/pink zoning
  • Mobility/transportation
  • Access to technology/technology training
  • Access to health care
  • Affordable college/education equity
  • Access to credit/financial education
  • Inclusive prosperity

All units of government—federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial—within the United States and their partners are eligible to apply.

Applicants will be judged on the standard Innovations in American Government Awards criteria of novelty, effectiveness, significance, and transferability, as well as the impact of the innovation on public engagement and participation. This impact could be demonstrated, for example, by:

  • Number of people reached
  • Centrality of economic mobility to mission of program/initiative/policy or how these considerations shaped public policy
  • Quantitative and/or qualitative evidence of outcomes
  • Engaging people from all parts of a community