The 2018 cohort of the STEM Re-entry Task Force has officially launched. The Society of Women Engineers and iRelaunch are partnering with The Aerospace Company, Asurion, Boeing, Dell, EMD Millipore and Raytheon to implement engineering and technology internship programs for professionals returning to work after a career break.
“The Task Force meets the needs of women wanting to return to work after a career break while also addressing the challenge encountered by employers in attaining a diverse workforce at all levels of their organizations,” said Karen Horting, CEO and executive director of SWE. “There’s a hidden talent pool in women returning to work after a break, and these programs allow employers to tap into that.”
Since its launch in 2016, the STEM Re-entry Task Force has proved valuable. Over 60 midcareer professionals participated in pilot programs in the first year of the initiative, with 60 percent to 100 percent getting hired; 89 percent on a weighted average basis. Five of the original seven founding members continued their reentry programs, some doubling or tripling in size. To date, more than 200 returning professionals have participated in Task Force programs.
The founding members and first cohort included Booz Allen Hamilton, Caterpillar, Cummins, General Motors, IBM, Intel Corporation and Johnson Controls. The second cohort launched in 2017 and included Ford Motor Company, GE Power, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Northrop Grumman, Schneider Electric and United Technologies.
“We knew from the beginning that relaunchers were definitely an untapped source that we typically would not be looking at, and we’ve found that there is a high caliber of women in this group demonstrating excellence in talent, skillset, maturity and drive,” said Jessica Galich, Gender Diversity & Take 2 recruiting lead at GM. “When we started the program, we were surprised by just how many individuals are out there who have taken a career break and are interested in returning or actively trying to re-enter the workforce. The Take 2 program provides these individuals a transition that accommodates their unique needs, setting them up for success as they re-launch their careers.”
GM’s Take 2 program delivers a comfortable pace for re-engagement into the workforce. Throughout the 12-week program, “interns” are provided with training and meet similarly situated career relaunchers whom they can relate to and grow with in the program. Relaunchers interested in the Take 2 program are required to have a minimum of three to five years’ work experience and at least two years of a career break. Many participants have 2-25 years of a career break behind them.
“The Take 2 program gave me the opportunity to reengage into the work force in a way that was not abrupt,” said Rhonda Lloyd, Head Restraints Design Release Engineer at GM and Take 2 program participant. “After stepping away from the workforce for over nine years, Take 2 helped rebuild my skills and confidence. I was encouraged knowing that I still had what it takes to contribute to a technical and professional environment. I truly appreciated all the chances to network with people in leadership.”
GM has completed four re-entry programs and has started the fifth this year. There are 10 women currently in the Take 2 program. GM’s Take 2 program has had an 86 percent offer rate upon completion, and a 99 percent acceptance rate. GM has plans to expand the Take 2 program globally later in 2018 and into 2019.
If you’re interested in returning to the workforce after a career break, visit reentry.swe.org to explore opportunities available with the STEM Re-entry Task Force.