"SWAT Moms" Fill Work Force, Life Gaps

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American companies are reaching out to a unique group of capable workers for help.

They've been dubbed "SWAT moms," short for "Smart Women with Available Time."

Julie Wylie became a stay-at-home mom after having her second child, when taking care of the chores and caring for the kids made working full time a challenge.

"I worked ... in private (Law) practice for a corporation," she told CBS News. "All of sudden I was going to playgrounds with two young children, adjusting to my new life of being at home."

Carol Sistachs also quit her job as marketing manager, for her children -- all five of them -- but, "IIt came a point I realized, 'Ooh, I should have kept working part-time'; there was a part that was missing of my life."

They found the solution -- at their local playground in Chapel Hill, N.C. Their friend was hiring mothers for a project at the University of North Carolina's business school, which coined the term "SWAT moms."

"I love that term," Wylie says, "because there are so many of us like that who are either staying at home or ... doing a lot of volunteer work, but we have extra time we would like to give in some professional capacity."

UNC has hired 14 SWAT moms this year to revise student applications from home, and conduct negotiation simulations with business students.

"They have incredible skills, incredible education backgrounds; they just don't want to work full-time," observes Meghan Gosk, another SWAT mom.

Even the job of MBP program director is shared by two SWAT moms. Gosk is one of them.

She says, "Two days a week, I can pick up my child from school, do all sorts of things. It's great!'

SWAT moms are highly qualified, available on short notice and affordable- since their main goal is to use their skills.

"With a lot of the women," Gosk says, "their confidence grows, and they really feel they are a valuable part of the workforce once again. ... It's something they can put on their resume and be proud of it"

Flexible hours for mothers isn't new. But more and more American companies are creating projects specifcially for skilled moms.

"It's a matter of matching the opportunity with these women who are so available and out there and eager to do it," says Sistachs. "Ot's a win, win for both sides."

On The Early Show Saturday, Amy Tiemann, author of "Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family," told Susan Koeppen, "I think the key (to finding fulfillment in being a SWAT mom) is to rediscover what you loved about your job and take that passion and those talents and redeploy them in a new direction. I had been a teacher. I took everything I loved about teaching, my 'teaching mojo,' and put it into writing, and decided to take my writing career seriously and head off in that new direction."

She pointed to three Web sites as great resources for women who think they might be interest in becoming a SWAT mom: Ramps.com, FlexibleExecutives.com, and FlexibleResources.com.

"It helps to know that the culture is changing," Tiemann says. "You want to know that you can take charge of your career and really create a proposal for a company that shows that it's in the company's best interests, as well as your best interests. You don't want to be defensive. You don't want to be apologetic."

Just go for it, she advises, and move your career forward.
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