The Growing Proof That Returnships Work

Hesitant About Returning to Work

If you’re among those who are skeptical about the value of using a “returnship” to re-enter the workforce after a break, you’re not alone. Back in 2012, Working Mother ran an article that opened with the line, “Thinking about doing a returnship? Please don’t.” The article went on to argue that returnships took advantage of women’s feelings of insecurity after a career break, and that placement rates at the end of these programs hovered around 50%. Instead of participating in a returnship, Working Mother recommended that women hire a career a coach, work on their resumes, and practice interviewing for full-time roles..

Much has changed in the past six years, but unfortunately one thing has not—people who take a break from their careers for caregiving still have a hard time breaking back in. In fact a recent study showed that stay-at-home moms are HALF as likely to get an interview as moms who have been laid off. That’s right – employers would rather you got FIRED than have taken a break to care for a loved one.

Fortunately, more and more employers are implementing returnship programs as way to help caregivers return to their careers. More than 30 companies have partnered with us at Path Forward, and of the 150 women (and a few men) who have been through our programs, an average of 80% stayed on at the company at the end of the returnship. These programs create real opportunities for re-entry and as of last week, Working Mother seems to be coming around to that idea as well. Their latest article about returnships revisits the subject and features many success stories, including two of our own Path Forward graduates: Trisha Almeida and Ellein Cheng.

At Path Forward, we experience these successes on a personal level every day. One of the reasons why we share our participant spotlights is to encourage others to pursue a returnship. Our participants come from a variety of backgrounds, and they all re-enter the workforce with their own hesitations. Some have had a 17 year career gap, some re-entered as career changers, and many have expressed concerns about the rapid change in technology. But time and again we see them accomplish amazing things at their organizations.

If you’ve been hesitant to apply to a returnship program, we hope these stories will encourage you to be less skeptical.. There’s only one way to know whether or not a returnship is right for you, and that is to try it out yourself. Our partners still have a few returnship roles open for applications in San Francisco, New York/New Jersey, and Colorado, so get started on your road to career re-entry and apply today!

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7 thoughts on “The Growing Proof That Returnships Work

  1. Hello!
    I’m a returnship candidate in Chicago. Do you know of companies in my area who offer returnships in marketing/sales/customer service?
    Thank you,
    Carol Labun

  2. I would like to enter the program in Colorado. But I am reluctant to commit to the entire program time. I realize it will be valuable and if I enter, I will devote more than full time to the program and will stop pursuing current open opportunities.
    Can you make me feel comfortable it is a good move?

  3. Hello,

    I am interested in pursuing returnship program. Could you please advise me about the companies who offer this program in Arizona, where i live currently?


  4. Hi Al, of the 150+ people who commit to our returnship programs, more than 80% stay on as employees at the companies they intern with, while others use the opportunity on-ramp back into the workforce at other organizations. These are paid, temporary positions, and the only way to 100% know if is right for you is to try it out. We recommend reading some of our participant success stories:

    Our participants often discuss their hesitations for re-entering the workforce and how they know they made the right choice.

  5. Hi Heidi,

    Thank you so much for your time on compiling the list & sharing it. This will definitely help me to move forward in my journey of returning to work. Thanks a lot.


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