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The term returnship is used to describe an internship for individuals that are returning to the workforce after a significant absence from the workplace. Returnships allow individuals to adjust to their new work environments, while sharpening the skills needed to be effective in their professions.


The long-term unemployed, military veterans and parents returning to work are individuals that can benefit from a returnship program. These are professionals that have spent a significant amount of time away from the workplace. Returnships allow them to adjust to new technologies as well as update their skills. Some of the other benefits of these programs include:

  • Allowing participants to meet new coworkers, thereby expanding their networks.
  • Closing employment gaps appearing on their resumes.
  • Providing a source of income while they are updating their skills.
  • Allowing employers to screen candidates without making a commitment to a full-time position.

Returnships can last in duration from several weeks to several months. Candidates are typically paid a fraction of a full-time employee’s salary. Many programs are geared towards women age 40 and older that may have put their careers on hold while raising children.

Related Terms

apprenticeship, Career and Technical Education, distance learning, entry level job, equivalent work experience, internship