Incorporate Israel is an innovative program aimed at promoting employment in the business sector of professionals and college graduates with disabilities. Incorporate Israel guides employers and human resource directors of large companies in the laws governing the employment of people with disabilities and the various services and agencies available to facilitate such employment.
The program operates along three tracks:
- Providing businesses with the knowledge and tools to recruit people with disabilities;
- Building a network of committed employers;
- Extensive activity through media campaigns and public discourse to increase awareness of the importance of employing people with disabilities in quality professional employment.
Incorporate Israel was conceived in light of the difficulties experienced by professionals and academics with disabilities in finding work commensurate with their skills. It is designed to increase the rate of such employment by raising employers’ awareness of the possibilities, advantages and opportunities that lie in employing people with disabilities. The work with employers consists of two stages:
- Opening the door: introducing CEO’s and business owners to the program;
- Ongoing work with human resource departments and managers at different levels.
The program includes study and training sessions for human resource, recruitment and placement managers to provide them with the necessary tools. The awareness changing activity includes a media campaign and annual awards to leading businesses in the employment of people with disabilities. In order to promote the employment of people with disabilities, participating firms are encouraged to mobilize others into a support network of committed employers.
What’s Special about this Program?
The program is unique in that it is led by the business sector. It is a business-to-business initiative that seeks to expose business peers to the advantages of hiring and employing professionals with disabilities for jobs commensurate with their abilities.
Ness Information Systems
Ness is one of Israel’s leading IT service companies, providing information technology and business planning services in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region. It operates in three sectors: software engineering, technology and integration, and advanced solutions for defense and homeland security. The company employs 3,000 people.
Since its founding 17 years ago, the firm has encouraged diversity in employment by hiring people with disabilities but not in any structured way. Recently, the company decided to focus on disability employment with the support of Tevet's Incorporate Israel program. The hiring of people with disabilities has become an integral part of the annual goals set out by the company and its human resources directors. Since the start of the program in July 2017, the company has hired 11 workers with disabilities.
The process began with the building of an organizational infrastructure:
- The appointment of a point person for the program, the definition of her tasks and the announcement of her appointment to all company staff;
- Training and study sessions for all managers: top management, human resources and recruitment staff;
- Presentation of the program at management meetings of the various Ness business lines and mobilization of managers for the task of integrating workers with disabilities;
- Formulating best practices in the hiring and integration process;
- Setting clear targets for the integration of workers with disabilities and incorporating them into human resource department’s annual goals.
The first step in the program’s success was the appointment of the point person and her dedicated activity in advancing the process. Her in-depth involvement, determination and desire to implement the program throughout the company exposes all levels of company management to the program and gets them on board.
At first, the challenges generated a certain measure of doubt about the program’s success prospects, but today there is a growing and significant understanding and containment of the issue.
It appears that most of the managers have undergone a change in their attitude toward professional employment of people with disabilities.
“I see great value in employing people with disabilities from a professional standpoint. We are getting workers with a high degree of motivation and deep desire to prove that they deserve an equal opportunity,” says Irit Dekel, a business manager in the Testing Division who has hired three workers with disabilities in recent months. “From a social perspective, our employees are being exposed to ‘the other’ and displaying empathy. In the final analysis, the whole company benefits from the successful experience of these employees.”
The hiring department has also wholeheartedly thrown itself into the program and is working to recruit people with disabilities in accordance with the procedures set out by the program. The company plans to expand its hiring of people with disabilities in 2018.
Once an employer signs up for the program, a blueprint is drawn up according to the company’s specific needs and organizational structure. Relevant managers at all levels then undergo study and training sessions. Program staff also coordinate contacts between employers and support agencies that provide employment services for people with disabilities and help them locate eligible candidates for relevant vacancies. The program staff consists of a director and five coordinators.
The Program in Numbers
As of July 2017, 49 employers had participated in the program.
The program provided 64 training sessions for managers at various levels.
Almost 140 people with disabilities were placed.