Using Coaching and Navigation to Promote Economic Mobility: What is the Evidence?
The path to economic mobility for many Americans—especially the most vulnerable—is difficult. Economic mobility requires knowledge of available opportunities—jobs, education, and training—and transportation, child care, physical and mental health services, and other supports that enable people to take advantage of those opportunities. Education, training, and support services are available but in complex, fragmented, and siloed systems. Accessing these opportunities and supports can be burdensome, difficult, and time consuming, and can be especially challenging for people who also face the stressors of poverty, structural racism, and other barriers or forms of discrimination. For these reasons, interest has increased in coaching and navigation—approaches to facilitate economic mobility that involve working directly with people to help them develop skills, find jobs, move up a career ladder, manage their finances more effectively, and identify and access supports.
In June 2020, Mathematica hosted a virtual convening in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that explored coaching and navigation as promising solutions to facilitating economic mobility and reducing inequities.
Based on discussions from the convening, this issue brief summarizes what we know about coaching and navigation practices, their features, and evidence of their effectiveness. Topics covered in the brief include:
- The definitions of coaching and navigation
- Examples of evidence-informed coaching and navigation approaches
- How coaching and navigation can promote economic mobility
- What we know about the effectiveness of coaching and navigation