Organization Addresses Return-to-Work Challenges

by Mike Hunter

Returning to the workforce after taking a decade or more off can often be difficult, even for those with advanced degrees and once-successful careers. Most of all, technological advances are transforming the workplace, and those reentering it need to update their skills plus build confidence to return to a changing and ever-advancing business environment.

Local organization Opting Back In was founded in 2016 to help educate women and provide resources to transition back into the workforce. Co-founding partner Beverly Bradway says it may expand to also helping men, if the demand is there. “We recognize men are also sacrificing career to help with family in today’s society, so they will have needs, as well,” she says. Indeed, a case in point is her co-founder, Jim Whitfill. “My personal experiences helped me to appreciate both the obstacles and challenges of trying to return to work. Similarly, my partner, … was at one time a stay-at-home parent and, when the time came to pursue work, he experienced obstacles as well,” Bradway relates.

Opting Back In offers all-day events, multi-week classes, informal gatherings and one-on-one meetings to help women return to work in part-time, flex-time or full-time roles. It differs from other similar organizations in that it is not crisis oriented but, rather, focused on helping women who have the ability and time to invest in themselves. OBI classes, networking events and coaching are geared toward women who were career focused, but who took time off and are now ready to get back to the work world. Free classes available this fall include “Updating Your Resume After a Career Break,” “The Value of Self-Assessment in the Return-to-Work Process” and “Organizing Your Life with Microsoft OneNote.”

Says Bradway, “We also encourage those looking for support to check out our quick online survey (through website or Facebook), and help us improve our offerings by sharing their insights.”

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