Galloway is always looking for innovative ideas to create a workplace for everyone, regardless of where they are in their career. We are exploring “returnships” as an effective way to bring skilled people back into the workforce.
A returnship is a type of internship for mid-career professionals who have been out of the workforce for two or more years. It is a way for experienced people to return to professional careers without having to start at the bottom. Most often, these were people caring for a sick parent, dealing with an illness, raising children, or serving in the military. According to the Pew Research Center, mothers make up a large percentage of people who step away from careers, with 27% of women leaving the workforce for familial responsibilities.
Returnships are a new concept in the workplace but are gaining traction. Galloway understands how beneficial a returnship program can be. It helps create a diverse and inclusive culture rich in perspective and supports a female talent pipeline in the A/E industry.
“Returnships bring in an untapped population that contributes to our diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives,” said Stacey Bledsoe, director of people and employee experience. “Not many other companies in our industry are doing this, and we want to do something different. It can also be very intimidating when you have been out of the workforce for a while, and we want to help people reintegrate.”
Megan Morris, an architectural designer, is the first person at Galloway to participate in a returnship and expressed the same sentiment.
“I was nervous to start working in architecture again because it had been ten years, and I had never used Revit. There is also a stigmatism of ‘this used to be my career, but I have to give it up and find something that works around my family,’” she said.
Megan worked for a small architecture firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for two and a half years before leaving to start a family. When working for the firm, she mostly did Walmart remodels and was working towards completing her internship hours to become a licensed architect.
After ten years as a stay-at-home mom and owner of a home bakery, she wanted to get back into architecture. The most important thing she was looking for when finding a job was a company supporting her internship journey, followed by a company with various projects and a strong community and culture.
“When I was interviewing with Galloway, they mentioned they were just starting an initiative to offer returnship opportunities, and we both thought it would be a great fit,” said Megan. “They understand I am not starting over brand new and don’t see me as someone fresh out of college. That is where I gained confidence coming back into the workplace, knowing Galloway had confidence in hiring me and the ability to help me reintegrate.”
Megan works closely with her project manager, Maeve, also her mentor, to help her reintegrate into the workforce and progress in her career.
“I feel comfortable asking Maeve about work and life in general. We discuss my goals and what I should be working on to achieve them,” she said. “Galloway also offers flexibility that helps me stay balanced.”
Stacey said Megan is adjusting well and opened doors for Galloway to push the program forward.
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