Today is a very exciting day for Return Path as we launch a new program we have been cooking for more than a year called the ReturnShip program. (Sometimes the name of our company comes in handy.)
Return Path has always had a significant commitment to building a strong and diverse organization as well as supporting and encouraging women to pursue careers in technical environments. To this end, I’m very excited to share progress on our ReturnShip program: after a small pilot last year, our inaugural group of six female returnees will join Return Path in a variety of roles across the company as of today.
The ReturnShip is designed for women who have been out of the workforce for more than 1 year to re-enter and build credible and relevant experience, and to feed our funnel of prospective employees.
The ReturnShip is 14-weeks long, during which each Returnee will own a project deliverable, learn about Return Path and get support from us in how to navigate today’s work environment. We’re planning to hire 2-3 as employees at the end of the program (though as a practical matter, we will hire anyone who is great!), and for those who aren’t a match here, we plan to assist with connections and resume/interview reviews to find help them find a role externally.
We had an amazing response from applicants who hadn’t seen anything like this before. We hope this program enables us to help the community and also find some hidden talent. It will be a great learning experience for us, and we are very excited to get started.
On a personal note, although I cannot in any way take credit for dreaming up this program, I have felt the need for something like this a lot in the past 10-12 years in particular since getting married, having kids, and having a lot of friends and employees have kids for the first time. The number of immensely talented women who drop out of the workforce, or who struggle greatly with balancing work and home, is huge. Hopefully this program scales up and becomes a role model for other companies to make it easier for women who do take time off the work treadmill with their families to return to work either full time or part time. Reducing the hurdle of “I’ve been out of the workforce, so how do I get back into it?” feels like an important step.