Key Points

  • The twin forces of increased automation and the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly eliminating family-sustaining jobs in key sectors that have traditionally provided upward mobility for low-wage workers.
  • These forces are also creating increased labor market demand for the 21st-century skills (e.g., high-level strategic thinking and interpersonal skills) most difficult to automate and challenging for low-wage workers to deploy.
  • To maintain robust pathways to the middle class for low-wage workers and sufficient numbers of well-qualified workers to meet labor market demand, we need to create new pathways for low-wage workers that include training in 21st-century skills. But such skills are not best taught through traditional one-size-fits-all job-training or job-search programs.
  • This report provides evidence from Economic Mobility Pathways’ Mobility Mentoring® Program on how shifting from such traditional models to more individualized and holistic coaching incorporating 21st-century skills can create breakthrough gains for low-wage workers in education, employment, earnings, debt reduction, savings, wellness, and family stability.