RACHEL BELLE

ReBoot Seattle gives skills to moms returning to careers

Sep 20, 2016, 6:30 AM | Updated: 6:54 am
Reboot Seattle...
(Courtesty of rebootaccel.com)
(Courtesty of rebootaccel.com)

After four years of being a stay-at-home mom, Nancy Jensen’s son marched off to kindergarten last week. Now it was time for Jensen to reboot — ReBoot Seattle.

“I thought, ooh, I think I better go get a job!” she said. “When I went on interviews I have a good poker face and people would say, ‘Oh, are you using Techology X or Technology Y?’ And I would say, ‘Oh, yes, of course. That’s very important!’ Then they would go on a break and I would go to the lady’s room and Google these things crazily, like, oh my god, what is this? And so it dawned on me that I needed to skill up.”

Jensen needed to get her mind back into the career zone and, with technology changing so quickly, she needed to know what tech skills to update and what employers are looking for these days. A friend told her about ReBoot Career Accelerator for Women in Silicon Valley, started by two moms who wanted to reenter the work force after raising their children. After taking the course in the Bay Area, she decided that Seattle women could benefit from this as well.

ReBoot Seattle

So, with Jensen as the newly appointed program director, this Wednesday is the launch of the first ReBoot Seattle.

“Reboot Seattle is an eight week training program for women who are returning to the work force or are looking to make a career pivot,” Jensen said. “You get career counseling, but mostly it’s technical training on things like social media, LinkedIn, how do you use cloud computing?”

“What’s the right way to present yourself?” she continued. “One of the things that happens when you go on interviews, more and more companies are asking for things like presentations and demos. These are skills that people need.”

Jensen said it’s not exclusively for women, but that’s who ends up filling 99 – 100 percent of the seats, since women are the ones who tend to take time off to care for a small child or an elderly parent. Women from all fields attend, and it’s not just about beefing up on tech skills.

“A great deal of it is confidence,” Jensen said. “A lot of CEOs and hiring managers will tell you that the biggest barrier that a lot of women face when they go back to work is not their skills. They have skills. The ReBoot cohorts typically have 10 years of professional experience, they’re highly educated, very successful. But they lack confidence. So we give them this training as a way to boost their confidence back up.”

On the ReBoot Seattle website, it says that 43 percent of working moms pause their careers and 90 percent of them will want to go back to work eventually.

“Some absolutely just want to go back to what they were doing,” Jensen said. “But most say, ‘I want to take what I learned when I was on my career break and I want to combine that with my professional experience and then move forward.’ I want to say that 70 percent of the people at Reboot want to do that in some way, shape or form. Some are going to work part-time, some are entrepreneurs, some of looking to use this in their volunteer or community work.”

The 8-week ReBoot Seattle course starts this Wednesday and there’s also a one week accelerated course coming this winter.

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ReBoot Seattle gives skills to moms returning to careers