The program was launched as a pilot in 2012 and targets low-income, but highly motivated workers who are unable to realize their full potential and skills. The program works with participants – among them ultra-Orthodox men, Ethiopian Israeli women, and Arab men and women - over a two-year period, helping them develop and implement a customized longer-term plan for their personal career advancement.
- Those aged 25-45, holding the same job for at least 18 months;
- Parents of at least one child earning low wages;
- A couple that doesn’t make a combined salary of over NIS13,000 ($3,800 a month).
The program is designed for employees seeking advancement in their current job or another job commensurate with their skills and leanings. It offers them prospects for improvement in one or more aspects of their work:
- Economic upgrading: Pay increase, more hours if they’re working part-time, improved benefits and other conditions;
- Professional advancement: Promotion in their job by being assigned greater responsibility, a higher-level position or a more professional one;
- Improved working conditions: A shift from outsourcing to direct hiring, more convenient hours, flex time, etc;
- Subjective improvement: Greater job satisfaction, satisfaction with the manner in which an employee’s talents are brought into play, job security, etc.
Many low-income workers cannot afford the tuition fees of programs that provide the additional certification or academic degrees necessary for career advancement. Thus, an important element of Kidum is the financial assistance it provides for postsecondary education. Another valuable component of Kidum is the use of volunteer mentors. Kidum's mentoring process gives participants first-hand exposure to successful workers. Overall, research has found that a sizable proportion of Kidum participants improved the quality of their employment after two years.
What’s Special about the Program?
This is the only program in Israel that targets job advancement and not just placement. As this was a new approach to employment development, Tevet had to develop the four advancement measures that underpin the program. The program stemmed from the realization that while JDC-Tevet had mastered the ability to place vulnerable populations in the workforce, the number of working poor has tripled over the past decade and efforts should also be focused on professional and economic progress of low-wage earners.
Participants meet with a specialized advancement counselor. Together they plan a career path taking into account past experience, areas of interest and personal motivation and objectives. The steps are clearly mapped out and the counselor accompanies the individual throughout the process, for as long as two years. A basket of services is available for participants to help them achieve their advancement goals. This can include vocational training, funding driver’s education, paying for baby-sitting while the participant studies, and more.
The program’s long-term counseling and guidance includes in-depth employment testing and formulation of customized advancement tracks that take into account participants’ strengths, skills, motivations, abilities, personal considerations, and more. The program employs 18 coordinators, 12 of them in a full-time capacity.
The Program in Numbers
So far, some 1,300 people have taken part in the program.
From January to September 2017, 600 new participants joined up.