By: Krystle Crossman
When you stay at home with your children you may not realize just how much you miss in the workforce. Technology changes every day. Techniques and skills are modified to work with current technology. If you are home with the kids for years at a time you may come to find that when you are ready to go back the career that you once had has changed completely. This is what happened to Marina Groothuis. She stayed home with her children for 12 years and then tried to go back to her direct marketing career. She quickly found that the music industry that she had once excelled in had changed so much that she couldn’t find a job anywhere. She didn’t know how to use the technology, she didn’t know the terms, and no one would hire her because she had been out of the workforce so long. She was stuck and didn’t know where to turn. Fortunately she found a “returnship” and is now in direct marketing at a data provider called Direct Path.
Returnships are popping up at companies throughout the country and are specifically geared to women and men who have stayed home with their children and now want to get back into the workforce. They are paid internships to refresh the skills and knowledge that people have lost while being out of work for so long. Return Path pioneered this program and is now creating a non-profit called Path Forward to spread this program all over the country. Research has shown that only 40% of women returning to the workforce after an absence for an average of 2.7 years found long-term work when they came back. This is why these returnships are so important. There is a need for them and companies are seeing this. Many women who participate in a returnship program are asked to stay by the company.
Path Forward has set up some guidelines for the returnships with the companies that are involved in the program to make sure that they are as useful as possible. They must be 20 weeks in length, they must be paid, and they must be available to men and women who have been out of the workforce for at least two years. Companies do not have to choose to hire the candidate but if they do take the option to hire at the end of the program, they can use Path Forward as a job board to post openings as well. Path Forward is hoping that more companies across the country will follow this initiative so that caregivers who wish to enter back into the workforce can do so easily.