Wouldn’t it be nice if it weren’t nearly impossible to have a thriving, successful career and a happy little family simultaneously? Unfortunately in today’s world, that dream seems to be a distant and unattainable reality, considering how difficult it is for mothers to find work after taking time off to care for their little ones in those precious first years. Thankfully, things are slowly changing and more mother-friendly career opportunities are popping up. Here are three initiatives that are making a huge impact for working mothers across the nation.
(Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo)
1. The “LinkedIn for Moms”
After leaving a prestigious career as vice president and deputy counsel for Major League Baseball to be a full-time mother, Jennifer Gefsky had a rude awakening when trying to jump back into her career eight years later. Gefsky tells Fast Company, “In the eyes of corporate America, this highly capable lawyer with 12 years of legal experience, who worked on incredibly complicated matters for MLB, was perfect for … an entry-level job?”
Unfortunately, this is the dismal fate many mothers face when trying to opt back into their careers after taking a childcare hiatus – but Gefsky wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Instead, she and Niccole Kroll, another working mother facing the same dilemma, developed Apres, a job marketplace built by ambitious working mothers, for ambitious working mothers.
According to the company’s website, “Apres is redefining how women reenter the workforce by offering inspiring content, tools to successfully navigate your transition, a roster of the very best career coaches and a diverse job market where you’ll find full-time, part-time and project-based positions.” Gefsky says that highly skilled mothers who are kept out of the workforce due to various barriers to re-entry are “an invaluable source of talent for corporate America,” however they remain an “untapped pool of candidates” still today.
2. The Case for Returnships
Marina Groothuis tells Fortune that she was able to return back to the workforce thanks to the paid “returnship” that was offered to her by Return Path, which is a program that helps reintroduce professionals into the workforce who have taken time away from their careers to be caregivers (e.g. mothers). Groothuis, who had a career in direct marketing in the music industry before taking time off to be a mom, struggled to find full-time work, despite sending out roughly 50 resumes per week for three months. After working a 20-week paid internship with Return Path, Groothuis is now the company’s marketing analyst and loving it.
In fact, Return Path’s program was so popular that it is now being turned into a full-fledged, standalone nonprofit, called Path Forward, says Return Path CEO Matt Blumberg. Path Forward will expand on the program’s original initiatives and “help companies set up mid-career internships for individuals – parents and other caregivers
– who’ve been out of the workforce for a few years.” “Returnships” are a great way to extend a bridge to help mothers transition back into the workforce after taking a break from their careers for family matters.
3. Flexible Work Schedules FTW
Some mothers would prefer to work part-time – but that’s easier said than done in today’s competitive and not-so-family-friendly workforce. One company aims to change that by offering working mothers part-time, flexible jobs to help them find that happy medium they need and want in their careers.
Inkwell is a global flexible staffing company that connects highly qualified and talented women (particularly mothers) with companies looking to hire professionals on a part-time or per-project basis. Inkwell founder Manon DeFelice, who is also a working mother, says that “[Twenty] hours a week from an unbelievably qualified candidate with years of experience — a candidate who also wants to have two days at home with her kids — is much more valuable than a less-experienced candidate, male or female, who’s available five days a week.”
Hopefully, more companies will adopt programs or work schedules that are more realistic for working parents, because the reality is: today’s workforce is dominated by 30-something millennials and they will be gearing up to have children in the years to come. It’d be a shame if all those talented, skilled, and ambitious working millennial women were lost to the working world simply because they decided to start families of their own.
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