By: Laurina Driesse

Being unskilled in today’s harsh economic climate is extremely challenging. Frustration and hopelessness can easily creep in when one is unable to find suitable work. This desperation is felt especially among those in the most vulnerable segments of society.

Although Israel is known for its hi-tech successes, only 8.7% of Israelis work in this sector. Unfortunately, the majority of Israelis fall within a “second economy” marked by low wages and frequent job turnover, both of which hinder individual advancement and sustainable growth of the overall economy.

Noting the social-economic strains many Israelis face due to the hi-tech challenge, Nicole Yoder, ICEJ’s Vice President for AID and Aliyah, stated: “Advances in technology mean that some industries will change dramatically in the coming years, leaving unskilled workers behind. Knowing this, it is important to be preparing the workforce now for the changes ahead.”

Therefore, in recent years the ICEJ has supported various vocational training programs across the country which help unskilled Israeli workers gain new vocational skills and essential on-the-job experience to allow them to advance.

An essential component of this preparation process includes initiatives like skilling, upskilling and reskilling which provide help to increase earning potential. The program also aims to prevent Israelis earning low incomes from slipping deeper into poverty or falling prey to unemployment due to future automation or other technological leaps.

Part of the skills initiative provides vocational training and apprenticeships, while guidance also is given to those seeking work by identifying barriers that may exist and working to remove them. The services of job placement centers also are used to help find employment.

Gaps in credentials, such as computer or language skills, also are identified and filled. For instance, many Israeli Arabs are not proficient enough in Hebrew to meet skilled employment requirements. This is noticeable when employment levels for those fluent in Hebrew are around 82%, but they drop dramatically to about 30% for those with little or no Hebrew.

When it comes to upskilling, low-income workers receive career guidance and professional mentorship, participate in professional development courses, and have access to professional networks. Employers receive guidance to identify hard and soft skill requirements as well as the necessary educational levels needed for workers to advance in their field.

The reskilling initiative helps workers adapt themselves and their skills to rapid industry changes by either advancing in their current workplace, preparing to change jobs, or developing the abilities required to freelance and seek new market opportunities.

The wonderful support offered by Christians around the world allows the ICEJ to strategically make a dent in the unemployment challenges that claw at Israeli society.

“We are thrilled to see what an impact this type of assistance makes in the lives of Israelis from every sector, and we hope that it will allow more Israelis to find their niche in the workforce and be able to support themselves with dignity,” said Nicole.

Your contribution towards this initiative will make an impact in transforming the lives of those falling behind in Israeli society. Please continue to support our work and ministry.