Amazon wants to help professionals who have been out of the workforce for at least a year restart their careers — at Amazon.
The tech and retail giant is launching Amazon Returnship, an initiative to help professionals get back to work after they lost or left their jobs—including those displaced by the impacts of COVID-19. Through the program, Amazon is offering people who have been without a job or underemployed for at least a year the opportunity to rejoin the workforce by restarting their careers at Amazon. It plans to hire 1,000 professionals during the coming years, in roles ranging from financial analysts to software development engineers.
The U.S. has seen a net loss of 4.5 million jobs held by women since February 2020, with nearly 2 million women leaving the labor force altogether, according to a May 2021 report from the National Women's Law Center. Amazon expects that at least three out of every four participants in this program will be women returning to the American workforce.
The Amazon Returnship program offers participants an initial 16-week paid working opportunity in several areas across the company, including teams like operations finance, consumer payments and search. Candidates will go through a customized and abbreviated interview process that takes into account their career trajectory. Once the individuals start in their new role, they receive dedicated support and personalized coaching.
During the program, returners work on a specific project and, after four months, they have the possibility to move into full-time positions at Amazon. During the first 16 weeks, participants work remotely from their homes and are provided child and elder care assistance so they can ease back into the workforce without making any major life changes during their first step. Amazon also pays for their relocation if they accept a permanent role at the company.
“We understand that life happens and sometimes an event affects career plans,” said Beth Galetti, senior VP of people eXperience and technology at Amazon. “While people may need to drop from the workforce to help care for children or aging parents, we believe that this should not penalize their careers. Coming back to work after a break can be challenging—the company you know and the tools you used are likely to have changed. Amazon’s new Returnship program is designed to help professionals reintegrate to the workforce and offers them competitive pay, a structured environment, and personalized mentorship so they can succeed.”
Path Forward, a non-profit helping people to restart their careers after time spent focused on caregiving, is an Amazon partner on the program.
“Returnship programs help companies find talent that they're overlooking using traditional recruiting methods,” said Tami Forman, executive director of Path Forward. “Programs like the one Amazon is launching can be life-changing and we are excited to partner with Amazon to continue expanding these efforts.”