Comcast's Act Two Program: Restarting the Careers of Caregivers
After a 7-year hiatus from working in the tech industry to care for her two young children, Sandra was ready and looking forward to reentering the workforce. With a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and 10 years of experience under her belt, Sandra was more than qualified, but she found it both challenging and surprising to discover how difficult it was to catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers.
“It was harder being taken seriously the 2nd time around than when I was fresh out of college with 0 experience,” says Sandra. "I couldn't even get an interview." Eventually, with a lot of determination, some networking, and a dash of grit, Sandra found someone at Comcast who believed in her and was willing to give her a chance- which was all she needed to get her foot in the door and get back on track.
Now, as Executive Director of Cybersecurity at Comcast, Sandra is passionate about helping people reenter the workforce and helped to establish, in partnership with Path Forward, the Act Two program at Comcast. Act Two is a 6-month paid, fixed-term role for experienced professionals returning to the workforce after taking time off for personal reasons such as caregiving. The program is open to individuals who have at least 5 years of professional experience and have been out of the paid workforce (in an office/ corporate environment) for at least two years to focus on caring for a child or another dependent.
Sandra’s story is not unique. According to a recent LinkedIn Survey, almost half of working moms take an extended break after the birth of their children, with the average break being about two years. And many women, around 61% according to the survey, say it was challenging to reenter the workforce and more than a third agreed that they struggled to get hired after their break.
In addition to their pre-break knowledge and experience, caregivers also bring a lot of new skills back into to the workforce. “After caring for the lives of 2 young people, I was able to put myself in the back seat and focus on others,” she says. “Comcast values that – especially in a management position.” Other skills found in caregivers are they tend to be more efficient, better at time management, calm under pressure, and are able to develop talent in other people.
Participants of the Act Two program will have the chance to not only sharpen their existing skills or learn new ones, but will also have the support and mentorship of Comcast leaders that recognize the valuable skills caregivers have. “I couldn’t believe how supportive the people at Comcast around me were,” notes Sandra. Currently, Comcast is looking for business analysts, product managers, software engineers, and IT professionals for Act Two. At the conclusion of a successful Act Two returnship, participants are then offered a full-time position.
For Sandra, the most important thing needed in returning back to work is the confidence that you can do it. “I was told many times by people I respect and trust that I would never be able to come back to a career after being gone for 7 years,” says Sandra. "That's why I tell my story. A career gap doesn't mean you lose your skills. You can come back and be successful."
To view current Act Two openings, click here.