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Maybe you happened to catch the Robert DeNiro movie, “The Intern,” a few years ago. DeNiro played, Ben, a 70-year-old retired executive who joins a senior citizen internship program designed to help him re-enter the workforce. That was a light romantic comedy, but in real life, senior internships are a growing part of industry. More organizations than ever are beginning to recognize the value of retired persons’ accumulate skills and wisdom.

There are several reasons that senior internships, sometimes referred to as “returnships,” are becoming more common. Currently, the national unemployment rate is hovering around 3.6 percent, which means many companies are facing the challenge of finding qualified employees. Further, when a company diversifies these days, it is not just about race or gender; it also includes age. While ageism is alive and well in the American workplace, more socially conscious employers are striving to be more inclusive of older workers. Additionally, even though some companies (and some people) still expect retirement to happen at age 65, many of us are in great health and more than willing to continue working well past that age. People seek returnships for various reasons. Sometimes a person may have been out of the workforce for a few years for personal reasons, but retirees often look for positions as soon as they leave their full time career. A returnship is one way a retiree can actually change careers and move into a type of work in which he or she has interest. It is advisable to assess your own skills and determine which of your

abilities are most transferable to the new job type. However, one of the goals of any internship is to learn new skills, and/or sharpen some of the skills that may need improvement.

Important to relaunching your career via a returnship is preparation. Chances are you have not had to construct a resume for some time, so you may need assistance. You may also need some professional advice on the necessary steps in making this career move. Toward that end, there are companies that specialize in helping people seek returnships or reentry positions. For example, check out, one of the pioneer companies in the work re-entry space. If there are specific companies for which you would like to intern, check out their websites or contact their human resources departments to find out if they offer internships for seniors with experience relevant to their organization.

The most common concern expressed by workers attempting to return to the workforce has to do with the time they have been away. The good news is that most returnships are filled by people who have been out of the working world for a few years. Further, Money Magazine reports that over the course of their career, 37% of women and 24% of men will take a career pause.

Most returnships are paid positions. With this in mind, if you are retired, you may want to consider your earnings as they relate to social security. Click here for full information on how much you can earn while simultaneously collecting Social Security benefits.

In addition to the financial benefit of working in a returnship, often these positions lead to full time jobs with the company for which you intern. Developing strong working relationships with your co-workers, and letting your supervisors know that you would be interested in a full time position are key to your long term success in a returnship.

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