“Returnship” program seeks to get adult women back in Utah’s workforce

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ROY (ABC4 News) – Utah women lost twice as many jobs as men during the pandemic and traditionally the state ranks low for female employment and wages. Now it’s launching a first of its kind initiative to get women back into the workplace by creating “returnships”.

“Utah, I’m proud to announce is the very first state to implement this type of returnship program,” Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson said Wednesday at a news conference in Roy.

Lt. Gov. Henderson says unlike an internship, designed to get a young person’s foot in the door, a returnship is meant for an adult who hasn’t been working for an extended time.

“The goal of a returnship program is to help experienced adults re-enter the workforce without starting at the bottom of the career ladder,” she told reporters.

Executive Order 2021-8 authorizes a $15 million grant for education and training while also providing temporary paid positions in state government agencies to people who have extended gaps in their resume, perhaps from raising children or taking care of elderly parents.

“We get an opportunity to end that gap, especially for women. This is available to everyone but we’re really talking about women here, right?” Gov. Spencer Cox said. “Women who have been out of the workforce for a long time…We get a chance to get them back to fill their resume and the state of Utah benefits from that as well.”

Vice President of Human Resources for Northrop Grumman Beth Pitts-Madonna says this will benefit companies which often struggle to fill positions with qualified candidates.

“It’s a win for us as a company in a competitive marketplace,” Pitts-Madonna said. “And it also gives a great opportunity for a workforce that it’s been a bit hard to get back into companies just on a pure resume by resume standpoint.”

To learn more about the initiative, go to: https://ltgovernor.utah.gov/2021/04/01/returnship-initiative/

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