Using Coaching and Navigation to Promote Economic Mobility: How Can Programs Ensure Equity?
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 and the oppression of structural racism. At the same time, people seeking economic mobility bring skills, experiences, knowledge, and other strengths. Coaching and navigation are designed to help people capitalize on those strengths. For these reasons, there has been increasing interest in coaching and navigation to facilitate economic mobility.
In June 2020, Mathematica hosted a virtual convening in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that explored coaching and navigation programs as a promising solution to improving economic mobility and reducing inequities. Convening participants noted that coaching and navigation could be important approaches to promote equitable economic mobility but cautioned that providing these services equitably requires close attention.
This issue brief highlights the insights from the convening about promoting equity in coaching and navigation. Topics include:
- The value in making coaching and navigation services more accessible to clients
- Increasing diversity among coaches, navigators, and other program staff
- How to address biases and train program staff on cultural competency
- How to include the client voice when designing programs and services
- Ways to ensure equity when funding, designing, implementing, and researching coaching and navigation services