Boosting Upward Mobility: A Planning Guide for Local Action

Using the guide provided by Urban Institute, Bridges to Prosperity Rockford Region is leading a planning process that involves building a cross-sector team, gathering and analyzing data, conducting community and stakeholder engagement, and identifying needed systems changes so that our community can create a Mobility Action Plan (MAP), which will set forth strategic actions to boost mobility from poverty and advance equity.

Each section of the guide is a step in the Mobility Action Planning process: The Mobility Action Planning process is rooted in the Urban Institute’s experience helping communities boost mobility from poverty and advance racial equity.

In Step 1, we learn more about the Framework for Boosting Mobility and Advancing Equity, which includes Urban Institute’s three-part definition of mobility from poverty, the key pillars and predictors of upward mobility, the Mobility Metrics, planning principles, and the organizations and individuals to engage in this work.

Step 2 introduces the Mobility Metrics in greater detail and shows how to use them to gather insights about mobility in our community. Surfacing preliminary insights about mobility in our community is a key step toward understanding how to begin the Mobility Action Planning process.

Step 3 guides us to assess our municipality’s readiness to act and help us to identify capacities and readiness conditions to build up within our community. Creating sustainable systems change within our community and among partner organizations requires a certain level of capacity and commitment.

In Step 4, we learn how to build our Mobility Coalition. Removing systemic barriers demands a holistic approach that addresses multiple levers for change through a coordinated strategy with stakeholders from many different policy domains and sectors.

Step 5 provides us with methods for gathering data to supplement the Mobility Metrics that can get the Mobility Coalition on the same page about what the key issues are in our community. Once our Mobility Coalition is assembled, it’s important to develop an initial understanding of local mobility conditions as a group.

In Step 6, we learn best practices for deepening the coalition’s analysis and engaging with our community at every phase of this work. Building on the Mobility Coalition’s initial understanding of mobility issues will require engaging with more stakeholders and community members and gathering and analyzing qualitative data.

Step 7 guides us in selecting our strategic actions. Identifying a set of comprehensive strategies that consider the full range of a community’s needs and assets requires a clear theory of change and logic model that demonstrate how and why the selected strategies will lead to the change our community hopes to see.

In Step 8, we better understand how to measure progress and consider how to sustain momentum once the MAP is released. Tracking change over time requires a portfolio of measurement tools that includes different but interconnected measures and an understanding of how to track progress toward eliminating disparities.

In Step 9, we gain insight and considerations around finalizing and releasing our MAP. Once we've gone through all the above steps, we’ll need to consider the format for our final MAP as well as a plan for releasing it.

Step 10 provides some initial steps the Mobility Coalition can take to increase the sustainability of our MAP. Finally, once our MAP is released, our Mobility Coalition will need to maintain momentum around implementation.