March 20, 2020
The Returnship Program
Chief Human Resources Officer
About the Initiative
In 2019, Carle Health launched its first Returnship program. The Returnship program is a workforce development outreach program designed to provide career opportunities for those interested in re-entering the workforce after a career break. The Returnship consisted of a 10-week high-level internship for experienced professionals who left the workforce to raise a family, or even those that found themselves wanting to return to work following an early retirement. It is aimed at leveraging past knowledge, skills, and work experiences while providing a supportive re-integration environment through mentoring, professional development, and promotion of self-care. Participants spend four days a week with their departments contributing to key departmental projects and one day a week in training and professional development along with their cohort peers.
Why are you nominating this initiative?
The Returnship has proven to be a viable program to Carle as it opens up another pipeline of talent. As career opportunities in the health care sector continue to grow, we evaluated talent within our community and identified a path to bring new talent to our organization. While typical sourcing plans and selection methods look for individuals without a gap in work history, this program does just the opposite. We embrace those with career breaks and connect them to departments and projects that allow them to see their skills are still relevant; whereby building confidence and support as they successfully reacquaint themselves with a professional working environment.
Nomination Contributions: Following Carle’s Returnship program, all participants interested in full or part-time employment secured job opportunities. Participants agreed the program was instrumental in re-launching their careers and helped them feel more confident and comfortable. Leaders of our Returnship participants were impressed with the level of skill and how quickly our participants made meaningful contributions on their teams and through their project work.
To make the Returnship a success, all functional areas of Human Resources came together to construct this innovative workforce development and community outreach program without having a blueprint for which to reference. New recruitment and compensation methodologies were applied, thoughtful selection of candidates and departments occurred to make a strong match, a carefully curated curriculum was developed, guest speakers were identified to add enriching content to the program, facilitators selected to lead the program, and a communications strategy to support the program were all key elements. This was a new concept for Carle and our community and the teamwork necessary to pull all the pieces together is what makes the Carle Human Resources team one of the best!
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