Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson Announce Returnship Initiative

Governor Cox speaking during the weekly COVID-19 briefing.

New returnship initiative announced

Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson are excited to announce the launch of the Lieutenant Governor’s returnship initiative to expand workforce opportunities in Utah. A returnship, similar to an internship, provides an important opportunity for those re-entering the workforce after an absence to build their resume and gain current and relevant experience. 

Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson announced the initiative at their weekly COVID-19 news briefing.

In addition to an executive order for state agencies to create more opportunities, $15 million in new grant funding will be initiated for the Learn & Work program. The Learn & Work program supplies funding to Utah colleges and universities to provide no-cost training to qualified students. Programs, including returnships developed between education and industry partners, will be prioritized for funding.

Executive Order 2021-8, Expanding Return to Work and Returnship Opportunities in Utah, will require state agencies to identify new returnship opportunities that can be offered. Utah state government will be the first state nationwide to offer returnships.

“We need industry, government and education to come together and help individuals who want to re-engage in the economy find meaningful professional opportunities. We also want to optimize training opportunities through our local colleges and universities,” said Lt. Gov. Henderson. “Our state agencies will lead the way and show all employers that returnships can help them develop talent as well as improve prospects for so many workers in our community.”

Learn & Work in Utah programs will continue to support educational and training pathways in partnership with employers providing resume-building experiences. The success of the original round of Learn & Work in Utah, launched in the summer of 2020, resulted in the state Legislature providing additional funding to support skills-development courses throughout the state. Talent Ready Utah and the Utah System of Higher Education are working closely together to launch the application for another round of funding starting on April 1, 2021.

Learn & Work in Utah will aid individuals by providing tuition assistance to those who enroll in short-term training programs to re-enter or upgrade to more stable workforce positions. Career opportunities will be found in numerous high-impact industries, including computer science, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and business.

“The Utah System of Higher Education is proud to partner with our local employers through Learn & Work in Utah,” said Commissioner David Woolstenhulme, Utah Commissioner for Higher Education. “Our training programs and partnerships with employers are intended to connect individuals with career opportunities while providing employers with a well-prepared workforce.”

Learn more at

Additional help for employees and employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at

About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) 

Under Gov. Spencer J. Cox’s direction, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) provides resources and support for business creation, growth, and recruitment. It also drives increased tourism, film production, outdoor recreation, and mixed martial arts in Utah. Talent Ready Utah, an initiative managed by GOED, develops industry and education partnerships to help build Utah’s workforce. Utilizing state resources and private sector contracts, GOED administers programs in economic areas that demonstrate the highest potential for development and the most opportunity for Utahns. Learn more at or by calling (801) 538-8680.

About the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE)

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is governed by the Utah Board of Higher Education and is compromised of Utah’s sixteen public colleges and universities. The CEO of USHE is the Commissioner of Higher Education. For more information, visit