Allstate’s returnship program provides support to professionals re-entering the workforce
At Allstate, we understand that professionals temporarily step away from their jobs for many reasons and recognize the value in both their career and the experience during that gap. That’s why last year, we launched the first returnship program within the technology organization.
The Allstate Returnship Program is a 16-week paid returnship for experienced professionals returning to the workforce after taking time off for caregiving. The program is open to anyone with at least five years of professional experience but have been out of the paid workforce for at least two years while caring for a child or other dependent. We’re spotlighting a diverse class of returnship participants and the unique stories that made them ideal for our program.
Sree Harshitha K.
Sree is an Enterprise Software Developer, Sr. Comm who took time after her second child for almost four years. The Learning Pathways from Allstate helped her better understand current technology and how to evolve. While work-life balance has been a major challenge, Sree realized where she was previously struggling and has turned that into a positive with the help of a great team that helped her get back into the swing of things and do the work without pressure. Now working full-time, Sree recommends the following: “Don’t hesitate to take challenges if you are given some tasks you have no idea about. Just take it and try to figure it out. Take some help. If you hesitate in the beginning, you can never learn.”
Rachna is an Application Developer and has been with Allstate for eight months. Completing the returnship program took three and a half months, taking mandatory coursework and training to enhance internal skills. Rachna is very transparent about the initial struggle of going back to work after a career break, especially learning time management. Additionally, Rachna was able to overcome the challenge of always wanting to do things alone. Advice for the future: “Always believe in your abilities … spend time to upgrade yourself and reconnect with the people from your industry to increase your knowledge and confidence. Take the first step and keep on learning.”
Gemma is an Application Developer and has been with Allstate for two years. She completed a six-week classroom-based curriculum, then a 12-week placement on a team. As a member of the production support team for Drivewise, her role has continuous development opportunities daily. This includes understanding processes, reading and writing java code, and learning the business’ needs. After being out of the workforce for over 15 years, it was personally and professionally challenging at first. According to Gemma, everything felt like starting from scratch except this time, she had a husband, four kids, and a dog. She was happy about the initial programming courses offered through the program, which were a great introduction to learning the languages. The placements helped build on that foundation. Advice for the future: “Think positive and go for it. We always think of the reasons things won’t or can’t work. There may be obstacles, but there are also workarounds. You won’t know until you try.”
Maurice is an Operations/Product Engineer and has been with Allstate Northern Ireland for two years. An experiential learning person who learns best by doing, Maurice has had the opportunity to work on three projects simultaneously while working with more than one team on completely different projects. After completing all six Technology Quotient (TQ) pathways, Maurice realized there was a lot to learn. These pathways helped broaden his understanding of the technology being used today, how it is moving, and how these moving parts fit together in the big picture.
With the transition back into the workforce, Maurice finds the most effective technique to be reaching out to team colleagues to build relationships while utilizing their expertise to learn under supervision. Development is a challenge, but Allstate encourages self-development. Maurice feels that the trick to prioritizing effectively and not feel guilty about it. Words of advice: “The world of technology is vast. It is difficult to know where to start or focus your energies. Start with the work you are assigned, learn the skills you need, and do the best you can with it. Think of this type of career like going on a tour that has deliberately not been fully itinerated. Think of your career as an adventure that really is more about the journey than the destination.”