Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson recently signed an executive order requiring most state agencies to “identify new ways to provide meaningful returnship opportunities to those individuals returning to the labor force” and to “start providing return to work and returnship opportunities whenever appropriate.” The order also requires Utah public institutions of higher education to find ways to assist with this intitiative.
The idea behind a “returnship” is that some people need to leave the workforce for a time and find it difficult securing employment with a gap in their work history. A returnship would help ease them back into the workforce and provide training opportunities, much like a college student or apprentice who is preparing to enter a new field or the workforce for the first time.
People who advocate for returnships typically focus on mothers who leave the workforce to care for their children and then want to return, and this is a great opportunity for them. Returnships would also be helpful to other people who are returning to the workforce, such as recently released prisoners and people returning from military service. Another group of people who could benefit from similar opportunities are immigrants and refugees who may have been skilled in their countries of origin and need help transitioning to work here.
We commend Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson for trying to create returnship opportunities for people returning to the workforce, and we hope these opportunities and others will be available to all people who can benefit from them.