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Return Utah Program Aims To Help Utahns With Extended Workforce Absences

Last week, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson launched her Return Utah program. The program aims to help Utahns who have been out of work for an extended period of time re-enter the workforce.

The returnship portion of the Lt. Governor’s Return Utah program will provide paid opportunities within state government so people who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time can gain the experience they need to find a new job. 

“We've started this pilot program. We've got about 15 or so opportunities with about a dozen different state agencies right now that are offering this Return to Work program through their own departments," Henderson said.


Henderson said the state will offer even more of these opportunities in January. 

The program's second track is collaborations between the Lt. Governor’s office and Utah higher education institutions. The Learn and Work Utah grant program provides classes and prepares Utahns for jobs in a variety of fields. 


“The Learn and Work Program is designed for unemployed or under employed vulnerable workers, people who need to learn new skills," Henderson said. "To have these affordable, flexible, short-term programs can really help connect them to a rewarding career. The Learn and Work Utah grant program is going to prioritize applications for people who are actually returning to the workforce.”


Applications for the first round of the Return Utah Program closed on Sunday and job offers will be made as early as next week. 


The Lt. Governor said the goal is to fine tune the program in preparation for the launch of even more opportunities in January. 


“The main thing that I've emphasized and that our state agencies are emphasizing is, yes, this is about us getting workers to come in and help us with stuff," she said. "But really, it's about making sure that we're providing opportunities for growth and an entry into the workforce for other people.”


Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!