Explore pathways to success with the Global Journey Re-Entry Program 

by Kassidy Berger 

GF employee’s journey led to the creation of a new program to help professionals who have taken a career break return to the workforce 

Bika Carter

Bika Carter, director of External R&D under GF Labs, at GlobalFoundries (GF), knew what it was like to step back into her career after taking a seven-year career break for family reasons. When she considered re-entering a career in tech, Carter harbored feelings of self-doubt if she could get back into a fast-paced technical industry. Understanding the impact of a supportive network and the need for a ramp, Carter championed the creation of the Global Journey Re-Entry Program.  

Since then, Carter has recognized the leadership, communication, and program management skills she gained during her career break—whether it was her tutoring experience or leadership skills she learned while driving various volunteer programs. Carter credits her managers, family, and mentors for creating a network of support which made her re-entry possible. 

GF’s Global Journey program aims to create a network for re-launchers coming back into the workforce after a voluntary break.  This provides individuals with an extra layer of support when coming back into the workplace. The development of this program has also brought together GF team members who happen to be re-launchers as well. As part of GF’s wider Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals, the Global Journey Re-Entry program aims to empower candidates to bring their unique talents and experiences to contribute to the dynamic working environment that drives GF success. Through impactful roles, program participants will refresh and gain skills to transition to a full-time position. 

GF is part of the STEM Reentry Task Force, the groundbreaking career reentry initiative co-led by the Society of Women Engineers and iRelaunch. GF joined the STEM Reentry Task Force in 2020, and it has been instrumental in the development of the Global Journey program. 

In a November 2012 article in the Harvard Business Review, Carol Fishman Cohen defined a returnship as “a short-term paid position designed for a professional who’d been out of the workforce for several years—basically, an internship for an experienced worker whose time off might scare recruiters away.” 

In 2007, Cohen co-founded iRelaunch, an organization which works with employers to build and expand their career re-entry programs. iRelaunch and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) founded the STEM Reentry Task Force in 2015 to grow the number of employers offering return to work programs with a technical focus.  

iRelaunch defines re-launchers as “mid-to-senior level professionals who have taken a career break of two years or more and want to return to work.” 

There are a multitude of reasons for one to take a career break. Others may leave the workforce to pursue entrepreneurial interests, military service, elder care or alternate career paths. 

Karen Nummy, a distinguished member of GF’s Technical Staff Process Integration team, said she returned to work after six years away from the semiconductor industry. While grateful for the opportunity, she was also concerned about the rapid pace of technology advancement and that she would feel passed by. 

“But what I found was my basic technical knowledge and problem-solving skills were still very valuable,” Nummy said. “The largest learning curve were all the new systems and reconnecting to the larger team. The time away from work made me realize how much I enjoy being part of a team solving technical problems. I think I returned to work with renewed energy and excitement.” 

Another GF colleague, Steven Soss, DMTS in TEQ, said he returned to the semiconductor industry after taking a five-year break to explore entrepreneurship. When it was time to return to the workforce, he felt concerned that he had missed an entire generation of semiconductor technology development. He also received feedback from hiring managers at other companies that the “two-year hole” on his resume, during which he was working as an entrepreneur, was an area of concern and even a sign of “unemployability.” 

“I firmly believe that my time away from the semiconductor industry made me a better employee,” Soss said. “I am excited to see the diverse range of candidates that the Global Journey program will bring into GF.” 

The program’s pilot phase recently closed, and GF is proud to celebrate the achievements of all its participants, including re-launcher Lou Ann Martin. Martin joined GF’s Design Enablement team and was the very first ‘graduate’ of the Global Journey program. 

“What a tremendous opportunity it is to be part of the GlobalFoundries technical community. Leaving the technical field at IBM for more than 10 years to raise four children, I never imagined there would be a place for me again in a STEM career,” said Martin. “Even in preparation for applying, I found helpful feedback and encouragement from the Global Journey Re-Entry team. Their support was amazing in helping me navigate the first few months back in the office. I could not speak more highly of the program and its purpose, truly life changing for me.” 

Interested in the Global Journey Program? Check out the program’s webpage to learn more and apply for relaunch positions