ICMA invites local governments to apply for the 2024 Economic Mobility and Opportunity (EMO) Peer Learning Cohort and grant program. This is a unique networking opportunity for ICMA members to receive training, coaching, and funding to effect conditions that promote overall well-being and upward mobility of their residents. ICMA will select teams from up to 15 local governments to make up the 2024 EMO Cohort. Each selected local government will receive a grant of $20,000 for the implementation of an economic mobility assessment, planning or engagement process, or other local activity as part of their participation in the cohort. This opportunity is made possible with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Brief applications are being accepted now through May 10. 

Register for April 26 Q&A session with program staff

Download the Request for Applications (pdf)

Apply through the online form

View Tools and Resources to Boost Upward Mobility in Local Communities

Access guidance from ICMA and our partners on identifying, refining, and advancing local priorities for increasing upward mobility and decreasing inequities. 

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About the Initiative

With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Economic Mobility and Opportunity program, ICMA offers resources and programming on boosting upward mobility in local communities. Embedded within ICMA’s Local Government Reimagined initiative, offerings range from evidence-based tools and content, virtual and in-person trainings, and a peer learning cohort for a select group of highly motivated ICMA members. Through these, local leaders can learn about drivers of mobility and opportunity and what’s working to move the needle for the security, health, and welfare of vulnerable residents in communities across the country.


What is Economic Mobility?


Economic Mobility describes the upward or downward movement in a person’s economic or social status throughout their lifetime and throughout generations. External circumstances surrounding an individual have a significant effect on the outcome on one’s own economic mobility status. For example, a person that is raised in a community that does not have easy access to clean air, reliable internet, adequate education, and a safe environment is less likely to have upward mobility throughout their lifetime than an individual who has all of those resources within an arm’s reach. Local government managers are uniquely positioned to implement policies and effect conditions that promote overall well-being and upward mobility for their residents. ICMA’s Code of Ethics and Declaration of Ideals speak to the profession’s obligation to serve the best interests of all people, eliminating barriers to public involvement in decisions, programs, and services, and to promote mobility and opportunity for all people in all communities. In practice, this can be accomplished through direct and indirect influence on access to quality housing, education, and health services, to stable employment and safe and supportive neighborhoods, and to representative and responsive governance.


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Highlights from ICMA's 2023 Pilot EMO Cohort

Learn about the ten local governments selected to be members through a process that gauged readiness to implement EMO-centered strategies through policies, practices, processes, and programs. Meet the teams and read more about their accomplishments made possible through this pilot initiative.

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For questions or to request more information, contact us.

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