U-M launches network to promote economic mobility in region


The University of Michigan will convene the first meeting of the Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network, a group of academic institutions working to advance and expand strategies to connect university-based poverty research to the public.

Led by the Poverty Solutions initiative at U-M, the May 8 event will explore how to use rapid-response data and analysis in partnership with communities and governments to enhance mobility and reduce poverty.

The Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network is part of a nearly $2 million effort supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand and connect established university centers, initially in Midwest and Rustbelt communities, to build on successful models of action-based research and engagement.

Besides Poverty Solutions, the network steering committee includes the Institute for Research on Poverty at University of Wisconsin, the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago Poverty Lab at Urban Labs, and the Kirwan Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University.

“We know that increasing mobility from poverty in the U.S. requires action-based partnerships across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, government and universities,” said H. Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and associate professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

“We’ve begun to see the promise this approach holds here in Michigan and in Detroit, as well as in other regions with the great work of our partners. Through this expansion we hope it can be applied to other places to increase mobility from poverty.”

The May 8 event runs from 8:30 a.m-5 p.m. at Blau Hall, rooms B0570 and B1580, of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. It is free and open to the public.

The convening is the first step in working alongside midwestern universities to further data-driven policies, including releasing a roadmap on best practices and providing technical assistance. The network hopes to engage both large institutions, like the ones on the steering committee, and smaller institutions as they seek to make impact.


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