In the late 1970s, the National Science Foundation sponsored a series of career facilitation programs designed to retrain women with scientific degrees who had spent several years out of the laboratory while raising families. I recently 'undertook a follow-up study of 75 women who participated in one of those programs—a year of special intensified course work in chemistry or toxicology at American University.

The general conclusion was that the program was very successful in ensuring job placement. That result has obvious implications for retraining scientists at all levels. In particular, it provides hope for men and women who have moved from their original field into sales, marketing or areas of science no longer of interest to their company, and who would like to change their career paths.

A woman who returned to full-time work as a chemist at the Baltimore City Department of Water and Waste after 25 years at...

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