Boosting Upward Mobility: A Planning Guide for Local Action (Step 3)

  • Project Home
  • Step 1: Our Approach to Upward Mobility
  • Step 2: Use Mobility Metrics to Surface Insights
  • Step 3: Ensure Your Local Government Is Ready to Undertake This Work
  • Step 4: Build Your Coalition for Systems Change
  • Step 5: Develop an Initial Understanding of Local Mobility Conditions
  • Step 6: Build a Fuller Picture of Mobility Conditions in Your Community
  • Step 7: Determine Your Strategic Actions
  • Step 8: Develop Your Measurement Plan and Consider Sustainability
  • Step 9: Finalize and Release Your Mobility Action Plan
  • Step 10: Sustain Momentum
  • Acknowledgements
  • Body

    Step 3: Ensure Your Local Government Is Ready to Undertake This Work


    At this point, you have a preliminary understanding of some mobility issues in your community. If you feel moved to rally your local government colleagues to join you in undertaking a full Mobility Action Planning process, you’re now what we call a Mobility Advocate! Before you call on municipal leadership to assemble a team to carry out this work or make any official announcement regarding the Mobility Action Planning process, you should work with leadership to take stock of what conditions, supports, and commitments are in place to help the process succeed and where your municipality might need to develop further before proceeding.

    Much research has been conducted to understand the necessary conditions for effecting large-scale change. We’ve also learned from our work with the Upward Mobility Cohort that certain readiness conditions are essential to have in place before building a broader team and engaging publicly about this work. There are also necessary readiness conditions for carrying out this work according to our Framework for Boosting Mobility and Advancing Equity; doing so involves centering our three-part definition of mobility from poverty (economic success, power and autonomy, and being valued in community), using Mobility Metrics and other data to inform decisionmaking, and striving for racial equity.

    The readiness conditions for a successful Mobility Action Planning process are as follows:

    • A clear commitment from local government leadership
    • Preparedness for cross-sector partnerships across policy domains
    • Sufficient organizational capacity to undertake this work
    • An organizational culture that can support large-scale change
    • Buy-in from staff across departments
    • A desire to build a shared understanding of structural racism and racial equity
    • Knowledge of the skills and capacity necessary for data gathering and analysis
    • Dedicated resources for meaningful community engagement
    • A commitment to ongoing learning and improvement.

    Your municipality might already have some or all of these conditions in place, but it may not, and that’s okay. The purpose of Step 3 is to determine whether these conditions are in place and, if they aren’t, to determine which areas your municipality needs to develop before moving ahead with this work. Many of these conditions are simply commitments from leadership and/or government staff to undertake critical aspects of the work ahead. At the end of this section, you’ll find a Readiness Assessment you can use to evaluate the readiness of your local government and identify any areas for strengthening further.

    Supplemental resources

    Access the supplemental resources referenced as part of the Step 3 PDF:
    • Readiness Assessment
    • Sample Internal Launch Language
    • Talking Points for Department Heads and Elected Officials