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Using A Returnship Program to Relaunch Your Career

I just found an interesting article on theglasshammer.com called “Goldman Sachs Returnship (SM) Program Helps Top Women On-Ramp Into Finance.” In it, we learn about Goldman Sachs’ “returnship” program, which lasts eight weeks and begins on October 19, 2009. The program will offer training and guidance to help highly skilled women return to the financial workforce after having taken voluntary breaks that may have lasted anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades. While participants are not guaranteed jobs at Goldman Sachs at the end of the program, Goldman Sachs has hired more than half of the participants from last year’s returnship program.

What are “returnships”? They are similar to internships, except that returnships are targeted toward experienced workers who want to return to the workforce full time. The returnship program may or may not pay the participants, and it may last weeks or months.

Goldman Sachs isn’t the only entity that offers returnship programs. There are many others. For example, the Columbia Business School and Bank of America jointly offer a program called “Greater Returns: Accelerating Your Career,” which provides networking and training opportunities for executive women who would like to return to the corporate world. “The Greater Returns” program will be held in October 2009.

An excellent tool for locating returnship programs is the iRelaunch Comprehensive List of Career Re-entry Programs Worldwide, which was last updated in July 2009. The list covers programs in companies, universities, foundations, and other organizations. I highly recommend that you review this list, if you are transitioning back to a career after an extended break.

Have you (or anyone you know) participated in a returnship program? If so, please share with us your experiences with the program.