Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is making it easier for stay-at-home moms to ease back to work with a program called "MomForce."
"Getting that first initial entry back into things is really challenging," said Sonali Rao, a MomForce associate.
Rao was an engineer who stayed home for almost five years with her two daughters.
"It's been really good that I've had this opportunity to get my foot in the door and test the waters before I jump in," Rao told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.
MomForce is designed for moms who have been out of the work force for three years or more.
MomForce associates work up to 20 hours a week for three months to reubild their resumes and make new connections.
"When the opportunity was there for me to continue, I jumped on it," said Courtney Lamb, a MomForce associate who went on to earn a permanent position at Children's. "MomForce made the transition back to work a very positive experience. It enabled us to work as a family to find that new balance."
Lamb said the program settled any doubts she had about going back.
"Am I ready? Am I going to enjoy this? And I've really loved it," Lamb explained. "I feel like I'm doing good work. I feel like it's beneficial."
In the first five years of MomForce, 60 percent of associates have been hired by Children's.
"It gives them the confidence that they can stay at Children's or go somewhere else. A few decide they like being a stay-at home mom," said Linda Matzigkeit, Chief Administrative Officer at Children's.
At Children's, 83 percent of the healthcare system's 11,000 employees are women, and 65 percent of them are mothers.
"It's been a great recruitment tool for us because these women are bright and have great skills," Matzigkeit added. "They just need to dust 'em off."
Matzigkeit started MomForce after a mission trip to Nicaragua, where she met a fellow volunteer who explained how hard it was to get back to work after staying home to care for children.
"I think the biggest barrier today is that technology is changing so rapidly," she explained. "If you're out for three years, you've probably missed something transformational."
MomForce associates require an in-house referral. There are two classes of no more than 10 associates chosen each year in the spring and fall.
They do project-based work in the following departments: recruiting, campus human resources, child wellness, employee wellness, work life, total rewards, legal, marketing and public relations, HR technology, school health and corporate finance.