“The first program in 2019 was very successful for participants and the organization,” Paige Parker, Workforce Development program leader, said. “It can be hard for professionals with extended career breaks to get back into the workforce and integrate into corporate life. Carle’s Returnship provides opportunities to help participants reenter the workforce, reestablish skills, regain confidence and connect to potential career opportunities.”
Applications for the 2022 program are accepted July 25 – Aug. 15. Candidates can apply online.
During the 10-week program, which takes place Sept. 12 – Nov. 18, participants will spend four days per week working in a specific department and one day per week at Carle at The Fields for training focused on skill building, professional development and preparation to reenter the workforce.
“We were able to hire some of our participants into long-term careers at Carle Health and we’re very excited to bring it back,” Parker said. Two participants, Emily Liang and Mary Powers, used the experience to springboard into new positions at Carle Health. Liang now serves as a senior financial analyst in Accounting and Powers serves as a Provider Services specialist.
2019 participants reflect on experience
The Returnship was a great fit for Liang, who said a three-year gap on her resume made her job search more challenging.
“It was hard to process when I didn’t get responses back after interviews. The gap is like a black hole to me,” Liang said. “When my friend referred the Returnship program to me, I applied immediately. I wanted to be in an environment that welcomes people with gap years, knowing that we have potential value to the workforce.”
After staying home for eight years following the births of her two sons, Powers was ready to go back to work as her youngest son entered kindergarten. When the former high school English teacher saw the advertisement for Carle’s first Returnship program, she said she was so excited. “It seemed tailor-made for my situation,” Powers said. “It was a chance to switch to a career in healthcare while also providing the support that I needed to come back to the work world after a long absence.”
During the Returnship program, Powers worked with Marketing and Communications and Liang worked with the Finance Department on projects four days per week. Then one day per week, on Thursdays, the entire Returnship group attended workshops and training together.
“My fellow Returnship participants and I really looked forward to our Thursdays,” Powers said. ”It was a chance to share our experiences in our departments, learn together and build our skills and confidence even more.”
Mike Carrelli, Accounting operations and budget manager, was first introduced to Liang during the Returnship recruitment process. “Based on her skill set and needs within the Finance department we brought Emily on board and introduced her to our team, systems and processes,” Carrelli said. “She gained so many valuable skills from the Returnship program that she was able to apply directly to her work. She had great questions, thought carefully about her career, and was very excited about the opportunities. It became clear that Emily was a great fit for our financial analyst position.”
“Having gap years on your resume means that you are fully charged with strong working spirits,” Liang said.
“This program knows this value and will help you reset your career path.”
Ideal candidates for the program have a bachelor’s degree, five or more years of work experience, and a desire to grow, develop and pursue work opportunities at Carle Health, Parker said.
The Returnship provided Powers with a nurturing and engaging environment that supported her reentry into the workforce. It also allowed her to discover how many of her skills were transferable to different opportunities at Carle Health, she said. After the Returnship, Powers accepted a position with Provider Services.
“I get to onboard all of our new physicians and APPs and am involved in the immigration processing for all of our employees systemwide,” Powers said. “I love being a part of setting up our new providers for success and helping them find a home within our Carle communities.”
“Participating in the Returnship was everything to my career,” Powers said.