BOSTON—CDM Smith began accepting applications to its Reboot Re-Entry Program in January 2019. The engineering and construction firm established the industry’s first return-to-work program for STEM professionals who have been on a 2-year or more career break. Founded in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers and iRelaunch, the program provides an opportunity for qualified candidates to re-enter the workforce and gain resume-building experience and confidence as they brush up on their professional skills and ease back into their field. It provides mutual benefits to the firm by tapping into a new pool to source talent.
The program’s inaugural cycle recently closed with promising results. After working full-time for 12 weeks, re-immersed in their professional field and guided by mentors and colleagues, all Reboot Re-Entry Program participants were extended employment offers and accepted full-time, permanent positions at CDM Smith. “I am so excited that we have found success in our first cycle of our Reboot program,” says program director Julie Lucas. “It has been a pleasure welcoming our participants and watching them grow professionally. I’m thrilled that they excelled in the program and have converted to permanent members of our team.”
Chairman and CEO Tim Wall notes, “I’m really proud to offer the first career re-entry program in our industry. Many talented and qualified people press pause on their careers for personal reasons. We’re helping this smart and underutilized group transition back into the workforce and providing flexible options to sustain relationships with valued employees. The STEM field is under-resourced, which is why it’s so important to not overlook these exceptional people. It’s programs like ours that will find talented individuals to build a stronger and lasting workforce to tackle our industry’s biggest challenges.”
Beginning with orientation, each Reboot participant was assigned a manager and a mentor to coach them through their new role and help them assimilate. They enjoyed bi-weekly Lunch & Learn meetings where program managers introduced key resources available across the firm, including CDM Smith’s ContinUum online learning platform, InfoCenter resource library, R&D Program, Cares Program, and Women’s Forum.
At the end of Cycle 1, program participants in CDM Smith’s Boston headquarters shared their experiences in a presentation to colleagues. Water resources engineer Faith Kuria took a break from her career in engineering to perform full-time, active duty military service. “Being out of school and away from the field for several years, I needed a refresher and wanted to explore what it would be like to work at a consulting company.” Finding that she enjoyed the work and consulting dynamic, Faith accepted a full-time, permanent position in CDM Smith’s Water Services Group. “I have gained valuable experience in water resources engineering and was able to re-learn programs and build my confidence. I am happy to get back to work and am passionate about continuing my career in engineering at CDM Smith.”
Environmental scientist Sarah Scarff took a 3-year career break after having children. Her husband’s job had relocated her family from Australia, so she lacked a network in the U.S. to help her get back to work. “I’m grateful for CDM Smith’s Reboot Re-Entry Program for providing this opportunity and to the colleagues who supported me,” says Sarah. “I was able to complete the necessary training and learn state environmental regulations to serve CDM Smith’s local clients in the Boston area. I’m excited to continue my career here and get involved in more projects.”
CDM Smith is currently recruiting for the second cycle of the Reboot Re-Entry Program. Find more information and browse open positions at www.cdmsmith.com/reboot.