Yellow-crowned night-herons and returning to work

A few weekends ago a friend and I visited Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the Broad Channel neighborhood of Queens. I’d long wanted to go—I never was able to make it whenever my cycling or hiking group had it on the schedule. According to New York City Audubon, the refuge covers 20 square miles of open bay, saltmarsh, mudflats, upland field and woods, two man-made brackish ponds, and small, freshwater ponds. Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, it is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

During our walk on what turned out to be a glorious-weather day, my friend told me about her experience applying to Morgan Stanley’s Return to Work program. (She is in her mid 50s and has been out of the workforce for family-caregiving reasons.) I’d never heard of the Morgan Stanley program, but apparently programs of this type have become a trend in recent years. They are designed to help qualified candidates returning from multi-year career breaks ease their reentry into the workforce.

Carol Fishman Cohen, co-founder of career-reentry firm iRelaunch, has been studying return-to-work professional internship programs for over six years in the for-profit, non-profit, military, and academic sectors. The programs are aimed at recapturing valuable female talent, but my friend tells me men can also apply. Financial services firms and major law firms are prominent in the space. According to Cohen, one recent Goldman Sachs’ Returnship program had 123 participants in the U.S. and roughly 50 percent were hired into permanent positions. Perhaps you know someone who may be interested in the initiative—please spread the word.