Behind the Story: Israeli Arab Tech Expansion Prompted by JDC Partnership

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 9:22am

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Israel & Overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, better known as JDC or The Joint, continues its vital work of empowering Israel’s future.

Here’s a recent story highlighting one of its programs you may have seen, but never realized you played a part in!

Behind the Story: Israeli Arab Tech Expansion Prompted by JDC Partnership

A New York Times story “All-Bedouin Tech Company Hints at Shift in Israel” published on January 9 highlights the growing inclusion of Israeli Arabs in the tech industry and job market in Israel.

“Israel, with a population of about eight million, has long been a global leader in high technology. But the country’s Palestinian Arab minority, which makes up about a fifth of the population and includes the Bedouins of the arid south, one of the poorest and most neglected sectors of Israeli society, has been largely left out,” the piece said, setting the context for the increasing numbers now being employed in Israel.

But what you may not know is that JDC – in partnership with the Israeli government, local NGOs, and Israeli Arab leaders – created the pilot program, Excel HT, that was developed to enable Arab programmers, engineers, and graduates in high tech to become part of Israel’s rapidly growing tech space. JDC was a 50-50 funding partner of Excel HT with the Government of Israel.

As part of JDC’s work in Israel designed to empower its most vulnerable citizens, Excel HT solidified relationships with major tech companies located within the country: SAP, AMDOCS, General Electric, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Intel and more, all of them seeking best-in-class talent and employees.

What were the results of this innovative program? They're staggering: 98 percent of program graduates have secured employment, with 86 percent of those employed retaining full-time positions and 50 percent of this group consisting of women.

Before the program launched, JDC pinpointed its research, identifying the challenges facing Israeli Arabs. Additionally, JDC was able to leverage its longstanding connections across different sectors of Israeli society and deploy the Excel HT model.

JDC's work in the employment arena has also improved the job prospects of Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews), Ethiopian-Israelis, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups. To date, tens of thousands of people who fall into these groups are now gainfully employed, positively impacting Israeli society and economy.

Excel HT and these other pilots wouldn’t have been successful without JDC's spirit of collaboration and its strong partnerships throughout Israeli society, all focused on one goal: inclusive employment.

Your gift to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign helps support the JDC’s work in Israel and beyond.

JDC is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, impacting millions of lives in more than 70 countries today. JDC leverages a century’s experience confronting poverty and crisis around the world to save the world’s poorest Jews, revitalize Jewish life, empower Israel’s future, develop tomorrow’s Jewish leaders, and rescue victims of global emergencies.

With your generosity, UJFT and our partner JDC can meet the challenges and secure the future for Jewish people and their communities, and let them know they are not alone.

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