UTC, a member of the Society of Women Engineers’ Corporate Partnership Council, and Carol Fishman Cohen, the Chair and Co-founder of iRelaunch were featured in a story on Good Morning America about “returnships” as part of the show’s Get the Job series. Reporter Rebecca Jarvis did a profile of Kelly Thompson, an aerospace program manager at UTC, who took part in the SWE/iRelaunch STEM Re-entry Task Force that helps technical professionals get back to work after a career break.
Forty-three-year-old Thompson works at UTC Aerospace Systems outside Hartford, Connecticut. She helps build and design parts that are used in commercial aircraft.
Thompson left the industry to raise her three children. Originally, she planned to take only a few months off. When she decided to get back into the workforce nine years later, she found it difficult to get job interviews because her skills needed to be updated.
“I guess I was a little bit surprised how much my skills needed to be brushed up,” Thompson said.
The STEM Re-entry Task Force helps technical professionals like Thompson get back on track in their careers by placing them in returnships to sharpen their skills, build confidence, and ease the transition.
“This internship was not a step down, it is a full-on executive position that utilizes my skills and background,” Thompson, a UTC Re-Empower participant, explained.
After just 16 weeks on the job, Thompson was hired into a full-time position.
“We see this pool as an educated, experienced talent pool that employers really can’t afford to ignore,” said Cohen.
To learn more about the program, listen to SWE’s podcast with Cohen about the STEM Re-entry Task Force.