Returnships Launch New Careers for Seniors

Retirement not what it was cracked up to be?  Been out of a job for a few years and ready to get back into the workforce?  A “returnship” may be just what older adults seeking career reentry might need to jump back into a new or renewed career. 

According to a recent AARP report, returnships are full-time paid internships for adults who have been out of the workforce for several years at least.  Some are 8 to 16 weeks long while others may last up to 5 years.  In most cases, employees will be hired directly by the company following the returnship.  

As companies strive to pull experience and skills from a wider and more diverse pool, older adults have an opportunity to rejoin the workforce after leaving to care for children, elderly parents or retirement.  Many seniors find they miss the social interaction the workplace provides as well as the intellectual stimulation.  The extra money and sense of purpose are also appealing aspects of getting back to work. 

According to a 2017 RAND Corporation survey, nearly 40 percent of workers over 65 had previously, at some point, retired.  Many older adults “unretire” after finding the right opportunity or discovering retirement wasn’t as they had anticipated.  And after a break from the stresses and pressures of the workplace, they are ready to return to a job that provides meaning and satisfaction.  And with greater flexibility than younger employees, older adults are often a good fit for part-time or on-call positions. 

Not sure where to begin on the job reentry path?  Check out the iRelaunch website for a list of paid, corporate return-to-work programs, coaching and resume and social media services.  Many high profile companies have returnship programs including LEAP at Microsoft, REACH at Linkedin or Recharge at PayPal.  Amazon Web Services also offers a returners program for people interested in information technology.  

The AARP Foundation supports a Back to Work 50+ program which provides training, coaching and job-seeking tools for older adults.