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‘Returnships’: An Initiative Offering a Path Forward for Moms Who Want to Return to Work

Women re-entering the workforce often struggle to explain the gap in their resume and find employment harder to come by

Women who took break from work can now get back through returnships. Wikimedia
  • ‘Returnships’ are for individuals who have been out of the workforce
  • Women take break from work for childbearing or caregiving reasons
  • It is difficult for them to explain this break and find employment when returning to work

August 20, 2017: How does a former stay-at-home mom become an employee of a tech company that could be worth more than $1 billion?

For Ellein Cheng, mom to a 5½- and a 2½-year-old, the answer involved a “returnship.”

So-called returnships are internships that target men and women who have been out of the workforce, either for childrearing or other caregiving. It gives them a chance to retrain in a new field.

In Cheng’s case, the former math teacher and tutor took a returnship at AppNexus, an online advertising company.

Also Read: Google Buys Indian-Origin Professor Shwetak Patel’s Health Monitoring Start-up

For companies, returnships are an opportunity to tap into more mature and professionally diverse talent pools. For participants who may be out of the workforce, it’s a chance to refresh their networks, learn new skills and try on new roles.

Beneficial arrangement

For both parties, it’s a low-risk, low-commitment arrangement. Companies can achieve their goals to make the employee ranks more diverse. Job seekers can potentially find full-time work.

Cheng’s returnship was set up by Path Forward, a New York-based nonprofit that works with tech companies to coordinate 16-week, paid assignments for those who have been away from the labor market for two or more years because of caregiving.

The organization partners with tech companies that range in size from 30-person startups to behemoths such as PayPal, which has more than 10,000 employees.

“What these companies of every size in the tech sector have in common is rapid growth, and also not enough talent to fulfill their needs,” said Tami Forman, executive director at Path Forward.

Women re-entering the workforce often struggle to explain the gap in their resume and find employment harder to come by, Forman said.

“They often get feedback from companies and recruiters and hiring managers that makes them believe that they’ll never be hired, that no one will ever overlook their gap,” she said. The organization says it gets results — 40 out of the 50 women who have gone through the program were offered ongoing employment at the companies in which they interned.

Teaching background

In her job search, Cheng applied for teaching positions but was also open to other fields. The product support work struck a chord with her in its appeal for candidates “passionate about learning and teaching.”

The program gave both managers and participants the chance to see if a long-term opportunity would be the right fit for them.

It also provided a dose of inspiration.

Other employees were “inspired to see people stepping out of their comfort zone, taking a big risk, working on something they haven’t done before,” Lorraine Buhannic, senior director of talent acquisition at AppNexus, said.

For Cheng, the inspiration came from a more personal place — her daughters.

They are growing up “in a world that is changing so quickly with technology, and I just want to be part of that,” she said. “I want to grow with them, I want to learn with them.”

In the end, the match worked. After the returnship, AppNexus hired Cheng as a product support specialist.

Now working in the fast-paced world of online advertising, Cheng says she doesn’t feel she has left her old self behind.

“I’m still obviously learning a lot, because I’m switching careers completely, but at the same time, still bringing the teaching element part of it every day to work,” she said. (VOA)

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3 Ways Online Trainings Add Value to your Learning

Apart from flaunting the skills acquired through completing one such online training, there are multiple things that you can add to your resume

Online, Trainings, Value
part from adding value and fun to traditional forms of education, online trainings support and encourage the students. Pixabay

Online learning has become a fruitful solution for individuals who prefer knowledge and skills over degrees. As scholars were keenly looking for affordable, accessible, engaging, and interactive learning solutions that can add value to their learning and shape their careers, online learning came for the rescue. Online trainings not only help students retain more information but open a way for interactive learning. Students not just watch videos to passively consume information but they get an equal opportunity to actively immerse into exercises, quizzes, assessment tests, industrial projects and a lot more. While online learning has become a companion for scholars, working professionals are also making huge benefits out of it. 

In the past few years, the credibility of online trainings has grown effectively. Apart from adding value and fun to traditional forms of education, online trainings support and encourage the students, provide them with the opportunities to implement their learnings, assist in professional development, and increase their chances of getting hired. 

Apart from flaunting the skills acquired through completing one such online training, there are multiple things that you can add to your resume. Some of these are mentioned below-

  • Hands-on exercises and industrial project – Online trainings usually include a lot of assignments, assessment tests, code challenges, quizzes, and exercises to make way for active learning. This ensures that apart from spending time on the audio-visual lectures, you also get an equal amount of time to experiment with what you have learnt. All of these interactive activities give you the creative freedom to implement your learning effectively. At the end of every training, you get to work on a fully-fledged industrial project that can enhance your practical understanding. The industrial projects vary as per the training. For example, you have to design an e-commerce website in web development training, design an end-to-end predictive model for a financial firm in data science training, come up with your own blog and design a complete digital marketing strategy for it in digital marketing training, and so on. 
Online, Trainings, Value
In the past few years, the credibility of online trainings has grown effectively. Pixabay
  • Placement training – Pre-placement period can become extremely stressful for students as they have little to no idea about handling interviews and presenting themselves in front of the panel. Moreover, there are times when your unsuccessful previous interview encounters daunt you more than anything. To boost confidence, it is important to learn from professionals. Fortunately, online trainings ensure that you get a complimentary placement training along with any of the training programs that you enrol into. The placement training usually trains you in resume writing, cover letter writing, email writing, and gives you important tips to stand apart from the crowd during interviews. The placement training gives you a beneficial head start for any of your future internship or job applications.
  • Training completion certificate – Certificates act as evidence of professional credibility. Training completion certificates are usually provided after you successfully complete every module and pass the final test with a minimum qualifying score. While hiring, a lot of employers usually prefer those applicants who have completed skill-based trainings from recognised platforms and have a certificate of the same. Inclusion of certificates in your portfolio clearly defines that you have invested your valuable time in learning new skills actively. Moreover, it gives a fair picture to the employers of why selecting you over other applicants who have no proven certificate course or skill would be better for them. The certificates usually have a unique number that can be used by your college authorities or future employers to verify your certification.

E-learning platforms offer huge liberty for those who aim to learn new skills at the comfort of their home. Adding up to the above-mentioned benefits, online trainings ensure that during the training, in case you face any doubts and queries, you are provided with full support through forum query. While being affordable and accessible, online trainings fulfil your aim of learning in-demand skills without sacrificing valuable time out of your college or work schedule. 

Also Read- Virginia Doctor Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Illegally Prescribing Opioids

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings, a training platform (