Return Utah

Hiring Pathways

Leading the Way in Career Reentry

The groundbreaking Return Utah program aims to fill mid-level, government jobs with candidates who have an extended professional absence, breaking the traditional practice of circumventing resumes due to experience gaps.

This allows Utahns who have taken a break from the traditional workforce for parenthood, caregiving, retirement, health, education, military service, disability, etc. to return-to-work at a level that meets their need, skills and experience level.

Along with the opportunity to revitalize skills and rejuvenate a professional network, Return Utah participants also receive transitional specific training, coaching and development resources in order to prepare for the future.

Return Utah was launched in April of 2021 via Executive Order 2021-8 by Governor Spencer J. Cox.

The order states that life experience should be relevant to pay and opportunity, that Utah as a whole benefits when we connect Utahns to training and resources, that it benefits the public to assist those who want to return to the workforce, that pandemic contributed to major job losses within the state and that those losses disproportionately impact disadvantaged populations, etc.

Therefore, state agencies are required to eliminate barriers to employment and utilize return-to-work strategies, namely Return Utah as part of their hiring process.

Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson is the impetus behind Return Utah after taking a career break before returning to work and ultimately running for public office.

While Return Utah is the first public return-to-work program in the United States, targeted career reentry is well established and growing within the private sector. In fact, 40 percent of Fortune 50 companies utilized formal return-to-work programs as part of their hiring strategy in 2020 (iRelaunch). Formal programs are also trending as a diversity and inclusion strategy in order to recover female workers and disadvantaged groups due to disproportionate job loss relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need you.  We need what you have to bring to the table. You have a lot to offer. Just because you’ve been out of the workforce does not mean that you don’t have valuable skills to contribute and we want to help you sharpen those skills and help you figure out new opportunities.”
 Lt. Governor Deidre M. Henderson,
Former Returnee (13-year Career Break)
Lt. Governor Henderson