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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

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Returnships
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)

Next Story

Protect Your Digital Self in a Few Minutes a Day

Here are ways to protect your digital identity

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Digital dangers
In this growing online world, you need to protect yourself from digital dangers. Pixabay

No one can feel safe noways if you post anything online from time to time on your social media profile, or anywhere else. What kinds of after effects you might encounter if you share or leave your email somewhere? What about the things you say or express online? Don’t you think this kind of information may end in the wrong hands? Let’s find out what scary scenarios may happen to you unless you’re paying due attention to that and how to avoid being trapped into digital dangers for your identity.

First of all, let us start with the popular background check tools that use open governmental and private sources to gather all the information available about you in one place. You might be surprised by the amount of data available freely about you online and that you are not aware of it. Those types of tools fall under the Open Source Intelligence category apps. 


Plenty of lawbreakers were able to design special tools that allow parsing the information they need just like the police search tools in popular movies. Those tools scanning publicly available databases as well, that what makes them so dangerous to you. What can be done against those big data monsters? It’s quite easy to check what kind of information about you may be freely available through those OSINT tools and how easy someone fraudulent can get use of it.

Protecting digital identity
The amount of data available freely about you on the digital platform might surprise you. Pixabay

Digital footprint

Any emails you ever replied or received, every post you shared on Facebook, every selfie you uploaded on Instagram – all of that creates your digital footprint identity. Anything that was ever said or done on the Internet will stay there forever and that is one of its foundation stones. Clicking on “accept cookies policy” button will help the webmasters track the activity you perform on their websites and since this kind of info is stored somewhere, you will add that to your digital footprint. Most of the digital footprint types can be divided into two main groups: “active” and “passive”.

  • “Passive” are the ones you leave unconsciously or in some cases without even know about that. For example with the data tools such as Google Analytics, the website owners are tracking how many visits or clicks were obtained from your IP, location or country. Since most of such processes are going unnoticed and you were not going to send that data over, you may not even realize that something is collected.
  • “Active” footprints are the ones you choose to share over the web. Posts from your social media accounts or your contact details on various forums or Web 2.0 pages are classic examples of your active digital footprint. Once you log in to some shared directory from your working desk and make changes to something that is visible for everyone with access is another example of the active footprint.
Digital footprint
In case you are aware of the digital footprint you leave or simply don’t want your search history to be revealed, use Incognito mode in Google Chrome. Pixabay

How to find your online presence?

One of the most obvious ways to find yourself online is by using some of the most popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex etc. In case you are aware of the digital footprint you leave or simply don’t want your search history to be revealed, try DuckDuckGo or use Incognito mode in Google Chrome. The Tor browser is another great option to be considered.

You can also use such people search directories like Nuwber, OneRep, BeenVerified or Instantcheckmate or simlply what info you already shared on social media with the help of FB People Directory or Facebook Email Search.

What identity theft can lead to?

Financial aspect – you won’t believe that but once the information about you was leaked it may be used for years after that, leading to fraudulent activity on your credit card, cleaning your bank account, to get a job, using our SSN or get tax return instead of you.

Emotional aspect – once you reveal that your identity was stolen you might encounter such things as being in constant stress or feel anxious. In some cases, people can commit suicide as they don’t have the power to stand against that. Just imagine someone’s calling you and demanding to pay the credit you never asked. The result may be quite tragical.

Physical aspect – your identity being stolen may result in stomach pains and headaches, inability to work or think properly.

Social aspect – since we all live in a digital world, identity theft may lead to losing your job or spoiling your reputation in some cases. Once such a case is revealed, you need to ask for professional help from the governmental or private institutions, depending on the severity of a problem.

Digital self
To protect your digital self, you shouldn’t reveal your real name and data on high-risk websites. Pixabay

Simple Tips to be Safe and avoid stealing your Identity

1. Always use strong passwords. There are plenty of tools that will help you to generate secured ones and store them in safe application like Dashlane.

Also Read- Indian Consumers In Tier-2 Cities Take Advantage Of Online Transactions: Report

  1. Check whether your email was a part of a leaked emails batch by checking it on HaveIbeenPwned.
  2.  Don’t use your real name on the forums and high-risk websites, unless it’s needed.
  3. Disable sharing location option on your mobile device option.
  4.  Never use your personal and financial details in shared networks, especially public WiFi, or use secure VPN connection.

With the growth of mobile and PC traffic worldwide, the demand for all kinds of leaked data will only grow over time. To save yourself from any negative effects of the data leakage you would only need to follow the simple security rules.