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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the STEM Reentry Task Force?

The STEM Reentry Task Force is an initiative to increase the number of technical women in the STEM sector by providing support to women who are returning from a career break. It is designed to cause an institutional shift in the way employers engage with relaunchers, using professional internships called “returnships” as the primary vehicle in programs aiming to hire women after career breaks. Some of the Task Force member programs are “direct hire” programs – in which relaunchers are placed into full time positions (without a formal returnship) but instead receive transitional support in the form of mentoring, and participation in a cohort of relaunchers going through the program at the same time. The STEM Reentry Task force was formed in 2015 through a partnership between The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the world’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology, and iRelaunch, the leading and most comprehensive career reentry resource. In the last 4 years, 25 companies have joined the Task Force, 21 have launched their own programs,

over 400 returning technical professionals have participated with an 86% hire rate.

Why are reentry returnships important?

Reentry returnships are emerging as a special category of progressive action for employers re-integrating professionals back into the workforce at a later life stage, and a powerful return-to-work strategy for individuals. These programs create a formal pathway to employment for returning professionals.

Reentry returnships give the employer the opportunity to connect with high caliber returning professionals at a moment when their childcare, eldercare or other career break responsibilities are reduced or over, and the candidate is ready to fully re-engage in the workforce. The programs also enable employers to increase the number of mid- to senior-level women in their ranks.

Where do the "returnships" take place?

TaskForce returnship opportunities are offered in cities and states across the U.S., in parts of Canada and some international locations.

Are these opportunities only for women?

Although the mission fo the Task Force is to increase the number of women in technical roles, men are eligible to apply and participate in Task Force company programs.

How can I be considered for an opportunity through the STEM Reentry Task Force?

Visit careers.swe.org to upload your resume, flag your resume as “STEM Reentry” and sign up to be notified by email when new opportunities are available. Sign up for notifications via the form on the Reentry Task Force homepage.

How can the STEM Reentry Task Force help me?

Returning to the workforce after a career break can be difficult – industries evolve, skill sets shift and you compete with other candidates who do not have gaps in their resumes. Furthermore, your own work interests may have changed, affecting what type of position and industry you may find to be a good fit. The STEM Reentry Task Force aims to support women who are returning from a career break by providing insight and support, as well as opportunities to explore career possibilities through returnships in the STEM industry. These returnships allow women returning to work to explore various opportunities and re-discover their own skill sets and interests that will translate into a full-time successful career.

What is The Society of Women Engineers?

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded in 1950, is a not-for-profit educational and service organization. SWE is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and receive the recognition and credit for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders.

The Society of Women Engineers has more than 30,000 professional and collegiate members, each with a goal to be a resource to other women in engineering and to use the SWE network to support their professional and personal aspirations. Supporting women at all career stages aligns with the mission at SWE, and putting women back in the working world of STEM, where gender diversity is greatly needed, is a key initiative at SWE.

For more information about the Society please visit www.swe.org or call 312.596.5223.

What is iRelaunch?

Founded in 2007, iRelaunch is the pioneering company in the career re-entry space. iRelaunch works with over 70 global employers to build and expand programs for hiring professionals returning to work after a career break, and provides strategies for nearly 80,000 relaunching individuals in the iRelaunch community to resume their careers. iRelaunch Chair and Co-founder Carol Fishman Cohen wrote the seminal Harvard Business Review article “The 40 Year Old Intern” on this topic and is a regular HBR contributor. Her TED talk ‘How to get back to work after a career break” has been viewed over 3 million times and translated into 30 languages. The original book she co-authored, Back on the Career Track (Hachette, 2007) is known as the “Bible of career re-entry.” [deleted words here ]iRelaunch’s flagship event, the iRelaunch Return-to-Work Conference has run 26 times since 2008 and over 8,000 people have attended. The Conference is the largest and longest-running dedicated career reentry event in the country and is sponsored by companies interested in hiring returning professionals. Over 50,000 people have attended more than 400 career re-entry events that iRelaunch has produced or participated in since inception. iRelaunch also produces the popular 3,2,1 iRelaunch podcast, which now has over 120 episodes and has been downloaded nearly 200,000 times. By empowering, guiding and supporting individuals returning to work after a career break, and working closely with employers to create and promote formal pathways back into the workforce, iRelaunch champions “both sides of the equation” to maximize large scale career reentry results.

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