I came across a great article of Forbes discussing what one company is doing to help women over age 40 re-enter the workforce. Wunderlich Kaplan Communications (WKC), a PR firm based in New York City, is offering what is calling “enternships.” This 4-week program will teach this group of women PR and digital communication skills that will help them as they either switch careers or look to get back to corporate life after many years working in the home.
This inaugural class is comprised of 8 women, aging in range from their forties to their sixties, coming from diverse backgrounds. Dara Kaplan, president and partner for WKC explains:
“We chose eight women, including a lawyer, a former CNN producer, a graphic designer and a stay-at-home mom. 99% are working moms and all are over age 40 (some are even over 60). And they are unbelievable. Take Ronni Berke, an award-winning veteran journalist and producer. She recently accepted a buyout from CNN to work on more creative projects and currently freelances as a communications strategist and content creator. She is an experienced media pro with years of experience in breaking news.”
She goes on to detail the types of skills they’re learning:
“Essentially, the ins and outs of public relations. We teach women how to create p.r. campaigns, write pitches and press releases, how to pitch media. There’s also hands on experience, like helping to run a party at one of our celebrity client’s house in the Hamptons. Working events helps them grow their network, which, as we all know, is what p.r. is about.”
I certainly hope that more companies employ a more forward-thinking, open-minded approach like that of Wunderlich Kaplan. They recognized that the expiration date put on these women’s abilities to bring their skills to market was an artificially-imposed one.
Given the opportunity, those of us 40 and beyond have proven that achievement is not a younger person’s game. Companies, are you listening? It might be time to look at some untapped resource pools and consider opening up intern opportunities to some of us over the age of 40.