Bringing Arabs to the Forefront of Israel’s Hi-Tech Revolution
There’s an excitement in the air all across Israel, and everyone wants to get in on it. What is it? Hi-tech. Between the constant growth of cutting edge startups and industry giants like Facebook and Microsoft planting offices in Israel, the country’s hi-tech sector is booming. But thus far, this growth is yet to significantly impact Israel’s Arab community— and, likewise, Israel’s Arabs are yet to significantly break into hi-tech. JDC-TEVET’s ExcelHT gives well-qualified Arab-Israelis tools they need to land lucrative positions in Israel’s most exciting new industry.
Across Arab society, even college graduates struggle to find fulfilling work that reflects their degrees and abilities. Employers are often unwilling or uncomfortable hiring Arab-Israelis, even when the applicants are completely qualified for positions. Educated Arab-Israelis know this, and often lack the confidence and network to forge ahead and apply for positions in which they’d excel.
Israel’s hi-tech industry presents a unique opportunity. Hi-tech companies in Israel are hungry for the best talent in every related field, from computer developers to designers and engineers. ExcelHT creates a network that benefits both sides — Israeli-Arabs are finally granted the opportunities they deserve in the hi-tech field, and hi-tech companies in Israel are connected with a group of ambitious, qualified workers.
Druze, Circassian, and Arab-Israelis with excellent academics are chosen to be a part of the ExcelHT cohort. The group — about 60 people per cycle — takes part in management and leadership training seminars, business English courses and workshops to develop interview and networking skills and more. This training is run by ITWorks, an Israeli non-profit in partnership with JDC.
ExcelHT is centered on a corporate mentor program, through which participants are matched with internships at hi-tech companies across Israel, where they receive one-on-one guidance and real life experience. Following the internship, many of the ExcelHT participants are hired full-time — to date, almost 50 companies in Israel have hired ExcelHT graduates and 98% of ExcelHT graduates are employed.
In 2015, following three successful years, ExcelHT was handed over to Israel’s Ministry of Economy, ensuring that it will continue for years to come. With the government of Israel taking the lead, ExcelHT will be able to grow exponentially — from150 to 1000 participants — and spread farther across Israel, with new locations in the Galilee, Jerusalem, and Southern Israel. Hi-tech is one of Israel’s most prestigious and exciting industries. With ExcelHT, Arab-Israelis can finally find their place inside it.