Unlocking the door to Ultra-Orthodox employment
Today, Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up 11% of Israel’s total population. And though the numbers are steadily growing, only 51% of Ultra-Orthodox men and 61% of Ultra-Orthodox women are employed. To complicate the situation, even for those who wish to work, Israel’s employment services are rarely adapted to Ultra-Orthodox lifestyle. That’s where Mafteach steps in: JDC-TEVET’s anchor program provides religiously and culturally-sensitive employment training for men and women. In other words, a key to unlock a better life for Ultra-Orthodox families in Israel.
Part of changing Ultra-Orthodox attitudes towards employment is showing community members that they can work to support their families while maintaining their Ultra-Orthodox lifestyle. That’s why each of JDC-TEVET’s 10 Mafteach centers is staffed and managed by Ultra-Orthodox men and women, creating an atmosphere of trust and respect.
Staff members guide clients through their entire Mafteach lifecycle, from bringing them to the center through grassroots marketing to their eventual employment and beyond. Mafteach centers offer a wide range of services, including career counseling, soft skills and computer courses, assistance with cover letters and CVs, job interview role playing, English classes and more.
Clients also benefit, once they’re ready, from Mafteach’s broad national network of employers. And once employed, clients can turn to Mafteach staff for any questions, concerns or issues that may arise navigating his or her very first job. Since Mafteach was established in 2007, the program has spread rapidly. Over 54% of clients who have gone through the Mafteach system are now employed, and that number is climbing.
Mafteach is shining a light on a new way of life — one that will lead to lower levels of poverty among Ultra-Orthodox Israelis and a more sustainable economy in Israel.