Walmart Expands ‘Returnship’ Program to Bring Moms Back to Work

(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. says it hired about three-quarters of the participants from a training program for tech professionals returning to the workforce after taking time off, part of an ongoing industry effort to increase diversity and find new sources of talent.

Walmart Labs, the retailer’s California-based engineering division, will triple the number of slots in the so-called returnship program to accept as many as 100 participants, Bobbie Grafeld, who heads human resources at the unit, said in a blog post Wednesday. The company will also roll out the program in other offices in California, Arkansas and Virginia.

The four-month, paid program is designed for professionals with at least five years of experience who have been out of the workforce taking care of children or elderly parents or for other personal reasons -- a group that typically includes more women than men.

Walmart will continue to work with Path Forward, a nonprofit organization that has developed similar programs with Apple Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and NBCUniversal. On its website, the group says that among more than 40 internship programs at companies including Campbell Soup Co. and PayPal, 82 percent of the participants have been retained by the host company and 90 percent are still working.

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