The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and iRelaunch have announced seven new participating corporate partners for the groundbreaking career reentry initiative now in its fifth year; the STEM Reentry Task Force (Task Force). The 2020 partners are Ameren, Chevron, FCA, GlobalFoundries, GSK, Merck and Stantec.
The Task Force is now responsible for hundreds of returning technical and other professionals resuming careers after career breaks. This powerful alliance was conceived and launched in 2015 between SWE and career re-entry firm iRelaunch. The mission of the Task Force is to increase the number of women in technical careers by hiring those who already have the technical education and work experience, but who chose to take a career break, and now want to return to work.
The mission of the Task Force is to increase the number of women in technical careers by hiring those who already have the technical education and work experience, but who chose to take a career break, and now want to return to work.
In addition, the goal is to cause an institutional shift in the way employers engage with the relaunching population, through returnships and other return to work programs. The Task Force aims to address the challenge encountered by employers in attaining a technical, diverse workforce at all levels of their organizations. Note that men are eligible to apply for and participate in employer Task Force programs.
“Since our launch in 2015, over 600 midcareer professionals have participated in Task Force company programs, with 86 percent hired when the programs complete. We are excited to see this continue to grow as more partners join our mission,” said Karen Horting, executive director and CEO of SWE.
Each Task Force member employer creates its own in-house, return-to-work program focused on relaunching engineers and technologists, usually involving a mid-career internship. The programs, created specifically for professionals with work experience who have gaps on their resumes, typically run from eight weeks to six months with roles and programming appropriate for mid- to senior-level professionals. Participants are returning to work after career breaks for many reasons which may include: childcare, eldercare, pursuing a personal interest, a personal health issue, or after experiences such as running for political office, entrepreneurial ventures or military service. Programs often expand across functional areas, technical and non-technical, as well as domestically and internationally.
“Now that 32 companies have joined the Task Force and 22 have launched programs, we have proof that these programs work, “said Jennifer Howland, managing director of iRelaunch and former program executive responsible for creating and expanding IBM’s Tech Re-Entry program. Howland and IBM were inaugural Task Force members in 2015, the initiative’s first year. IBM’s program launched in early 2016.
“Jen Scott and I are excited to welcome and lead this excellent group of seven new 2020 companies, as they develop and launch pilot return-to-work programs. These inspiring companies recognize the value relaunchers bring to the workplace.” Scott, who is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at SWE and who has seen this program blossom since its inception, says that relaunchers are a key component to a companies’ diversified and inclusive workforce.
Stay in touch with the Task Force by registering through our home page and view current Returnship Opportunities on our newly redesigned website. Check back often as new partners are adding more return-to-work opportunities as they become available.