- The Mom Project and BP announced the return of the BP Returnship Program, which gives women and men who go out on extended family or personal leave the professional development and engagement support they need to reenter the workforce. The program returns after a successful 2017 pilot program, the sponsors said.
- The return program will be extended from six months to nine months, increase the number of participants to nine women and men from The Mom Project's talent pool of accomplished professionals, and include multiple BP-related professions from throughout the country. Program participants are paid and required to make a full-time commitment. They’re offered mentoring and networking opportunities and the potential for full-time roles at BP after completing the program.
- According to the sponsors, the program supports BP's commitment to diversity and The Mom Project's goal of providing viable job opportunities to women. They said the greater initiative is to bring more professionals back to work.
Employers are recognizing the needs of caregivers in society and the talent that is lost when employees must drop out of the workforce to take on caregiving duties without support. Employers are also recognizing how difficult returning to the workplace is following an extensive leave. The Mom Project, a job site, raised $8 million in funding last year to expand its offerings to return-to-work mothers and fulfill companies' needs for talent.
Returnships have taken off as a way to solve both resume and skills gaps for employees and employers, alike. Caregivers and military personnel returning from service are common users of returnship programs — and for employers, they represent potential talent pools that may have felt somewhat out of reach or hard to engage. Walmart introduced its own return-to-work program at a few of its California offices and PwC introduced an internal phased return-to-work program, which allows employees who have been out on leave to work 60% of their normal schedule at full pay for four weeks after returning to work. The program helps returning workers to gradually re-acclimate to their jobs without a loss in either knowledge or pay. The workers featured in these programs tend to have proven skills and work ethic — just a lack of access to opportunities due to a long period of absence.
Allison Robinson, The Mom Project's founder and CEO, described the importance of return-to-work programs for employees and their partnership with businesses: "The success of programs such as The BP Returnship Program let us know that today's working professional is in need of effective tools to support the transition back into the workplace."