SWE Releases STEM Re-entry Task Force White Paper

Carol Fishman Cohen Explains How to Re-enter the Workforce After a Career Break

As part of the STEM Re-entry Task Force initiative, SWE is teaming up with the re-entry firm iRelaunch. The idea is to help women engineers who have taken a break in their technical careers to get back into the workforce. Carol Fishman Cohen is the CEO of iRelaunch and author of the “40-Year-Old Intern” article series in Harvard Business Review. She presented a TEDxBeaconStreet 40-Year-Old Intern talk recently in which she talks about SWE’s program.

“Seven of the biggest engineering companies are piloting re-entry programs for returning engineers, part of an initiative with the Society of Women Engineers,” she says.

Fishman Cohen explains why some employers are apprehensive about hiring an employee with a gap in her resume, and how the re-entry internship removes the perceived risk some managers attach to hiring returning professionals.

In her talk, Fishman Cohen gives examples of prominent people like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who took a career break, people she calls “relaunchers.” She also cites examples of everyday people who took them, including a woman who took 25 years off. In fact, Fishman Cohen returned to work herself after 11 years out of the full-time workforce, which is documented in a Harvard Business School case study.

Learn more about the STEM Re-entry Task Force and how to apply at reentry.swe.org.



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