Eligibility Guidelines


Since its inception in 1985, the Innovations in American Government Awards has identified and celebrated outstanding examples of creative problem-solving at the state, city, town, county, tribal, and territorial government levels. In 1995, the Innovations Awards were expanded to incorporate innovations in the federal government.

For the 2019 Award cycle, programs, policies, and initiatives that create economic opportunity through the following activities are eligible to apply: employment, skills training and development, wage advancement, entrepreneurialism, equitable economic development, poverty alleviation, wealth building, and financial literacy and empowerment.

All units of government—federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial—within the United States of America are eligible for consideration for the Award under the following guidelines:

  • Programs or initiatives must be administered under the authority of one or more governmental entities
  • Programs or initiatives must have been implemented at least 12 months prior to the date of application submission, i.e., for the 2019 competition, the program must have been launched prior to June 1, 2018.
  • Programs or initiatives must be currently in operation
  • Applications must be submitted by the governmental entity responsible for the innovation; nonprofit, private-sector, and union initiatives are eligible only with significant governmental involvement and oversight

While the Innovations in American Government Award encompasses all levels of American government, it focuses primarily on domestic programs. Innovations that arise within defense and international agencies are eligible if they have significant domestic policy content (such as job training, base conversion, procurement reform, energy conservation, or environmental protection). Weapons systems will not be considered.