Career Development

Career Development Opportunities That Enhance Family Economic Security

This section focuses on family friendly practices that eliminate common barriers to career development for caregivers and that support re-entry to work, career advancement trajectories, and education and training opportunities. 

Barriers to career development often include:

  • Reluctance among employers to hire or promote women of childbearing age.

  • Creating a “mommy track” or “daddy track” with long-term consequences for working parents who take a pause in their careers for the birth of a new child.

  • Developing promotion schedules and earnings trajectories that penalize a working parent for pausing to stay home and bond with a child.

  • Inadequate paid parental leave for either men or women, which may contribute to inequity.

  • Offering parental leave to certain employees only, whether only to women or only to employees that are at a certain level of pay.



What it is

Some companies are beginning to offer ‘returnships’ — internship programs to attract talented job seekers who have taken career breaks and need to revamp their skills.

Benefits of implementing this

In a competitive employment market, businesses may benefit from nontraditional ways to find diverse technical talent, especially through women returning to the workforce. While women’s labor force participation has increased substantially in the U.S. over the second half of the 20th century, this growth has stagnated and reversed since 2000, with participation falling by 3.5 percentage points. Notably, the drop has been widespread for women ages 25 to 54. Mothers with children younger than 18 are less likely to participate in the labor force now than they were in 2000.  Employees returning to the workforce are known to bring bringing a professional maturity, commitment, and stability.

Tips and Tools

  • Re-entry internships enable companies and professionals to assess fit before entering into a permanent arrangement, in the same way that internships do for college graduates.

  • Return to work programs often incorporate skills training, coaching, peer support, and opportunities in paid project assignments.

  • Multiple organizations provide partnership opportunities with businesses to develop, pilot, source for, present in and publicize re-entry programs:




According to a 2016 Manpower survey, 84% of millennials anticipate taking a break at some point in their career – so developing programs now may help meet future needs.


A variety of other regional supports specifically targeted for employers to assist employees in overcoming obstacles that are barriers to financial stability for themselves and their families. 


Metro Works: Getting to and from work in Central Texas traffic can be challenging and expensive. Some employers promote carpooling or help pay some of the costs. MetroWorks For Business is a bulk discount program that lets businesses offer employees discounted access to public transit.

Workplace classes to develop skills

English At Work: The Literacy Coalition of Central Texas offers English At Work in the workplace. English @ Work seeks to maximize human potential by sending paid instructors into workplaces across Central Texas—a unique approach to bringing English lessons to those who are motivated to learn and prepared to succeed. Instructors use curriculum customized to the workplace and to students’ job descriptions.

Emergency Loans

A Federal Reserve survey last year found 44% of Americans had difficulty covering an emergency expense of $400. Many low-income workers lack credit history and access to credit cards or bank loans. Employer-sponsored small loans are increasing, often managed by payroll deductions which create high rates of repayment. Often financial institutions and credit unions can assist in implementing an emergency loan program for employees. 


What it is

Tuition Assistance Program is a program, generally run through an employer’s human resources department, where employees can take college courses paid for by that employer. Employers typically start the process by supporting courses or programs that are job-related, or degrees that can be reasonably expected to lead to a position at the company with more responsibility. Many employers have a service requirement (the student-employee must agree to stay with the company for a year or more after completing course work or earning a degree, or else must repay some or all of the tuition assistance).

benefits of implementing this 

Employer benefits of tuition reimbursement and other continuing education supports result in more qualified employees, which many employers agree can be hard to come by. Employees who take advantage of tuition reimbursement tend to stay with the company longer. In addition to improved employee retention, the employer may have more employees who are easily promotable, saving them money on recruiting new employees.

Tips and Tools

Employee tuition reimbursement program costs are tax-deductible up to $5,250 annually. For employers that choose to offer a $5,250 benefit, after the tax benefit, costs are very low to the employer to offer employees this perk. 


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