- Walmart announced it will expand its partnership with Path Forward to more locations in California, Arkansas and Virginia, strengthening its effort to employ more workers who have taken time out of the workforce to perform caregiving responsibilities. Walmart will accept 100 candidates this year, which will more than triple the number of openings in the program from 2018, the company's vice president of people said in a statement.
- The returnship program includes four months of networking and professional development opportunities, as well as skills training in practices like software engineering and product development, Walmart said. Once completed, candidates can apply for available jobs at Walmart or throughout the Path Forward network, Walmart said, but to be eligible for the program, workers must have had a minimum of five years' time in their professional careers with a caregiving break of at least two years.
- Last year's partnership with Path Forward resulted in 30 returnships, with almost 75% of participants taking jobs with Walmart, according to the announcement.
Bringing on workers who've stepped off the career track for caregiving can be a win-win for employers and candidates. Too often, workers find they need more time off than originally planned, which can make it difficult for parents or other caregivers to return to full- or part-time work. Returnship programs have helped make the transition easier for workers and given employers a pipeline of experienced talent from which to choose. Some large organizations, like Walmart, partner on these programs with nonprofits to target workers who have left their payrolls, as well as new hires. Making the transition back into the work world as smooth as possible for caregivers is top-of-mind for many employers that do so. BP, for example, pays participants for its six- to nine-month-long program with the Mom Project.
Returnships do more, though, than provide an in for workers looking to re-enter the workforce. Most programs help talent re-acclimate with tech-driven skills updates they may have missed during their absence. Talent professionals looking to include more women and other caregivers in their workforces might consider which skills workers want updates on — as well as the types of skills employers need — before partnering with a nonprofit on a returnship program or designing a program of their own.