The Directorate General of Labor and the Israel Innovation Authority are issuing a call to tender and offering 20 million NIS to entities that develop innovative training and placement programs in the tech industry for the Arab sector, as part of the Human Capital Fund Program
The Israel Innovation Authority and the Directorate General of Labor will provide grants of up to 70% of the approved budget for innovative and groundbreaking programs and models that facilitate an expansion of the existing highly trained and skilled human capital in the tech sector from the Arab population.
In the tender, published yesterday (Wednesday, August 10th), the two bodies invited corporations, NGOs, employers and others to assist in expanding pathways into Israel’s knowledge-rich industry for the Arab population.
Tair Ifergan, Director-General of the Directorate General of Labor: “There is widespread demand for skilled employees in the tech sector, and it must expand its talent pool to attract talents from new sources. At present, one in eight non-Haredi Jewish men already work in tech (among men aged 25-35). In the Arab sector, that number is only one in 52 among men and one in 118 among women. This response provides a solution to the needs of the market and the tech sector, as well as supporting the government’s 2030 employment targets. The Directorate General of Labor uses a range of tools, solutions and programs, including professional training, practical engineering and technical studies, and services for Arab graduates and academics in tech subjects. In the past year, the Directorate General of Labor has trained upward of 100 thousand people through its professional training and studies at technical colleges for practical engineers, with a focus on promoting candidates from diverse communities. There is also great demand for a solution for graduates of tech subjects who completed their studies over five years ago and are yet to find employment within the industry, as well as graduates of other STEM subjects and other professional qualifications with potential to find employment in growth roles in the industry. This joint call to tender will promote new programs and solutions to meaningfully scale up and expand the percentage of Arab Israelis employed in the tech industry.”
Dror Bin, CEO of the Innovation Authority, explained: “Arab citizens of Israel account for 21% of the overall population, yet their proportion within the tech industry is only 2%-3%. The Arab population in Israel has huge unexplored growth potential, and integrating it into the broader Israeli economy, and especially the tech industry, is the key to narrowing socioeconomic gaps and ensuring sustainable economic growth. Even more so at a time when we are seeing enormous growth in the number of Arab students and graduates in tech subjects.”
The call to tender is intended to provide a solution to a string of challenges, including: developing the infrastructure and tools to find and filter candidates; exposing potential candidates to opportunities in a knowledge-rich industry; integrating employees without prior professional experience; filling in gaps in professional knowledge and training for potential candidates with a relevant background; and increasing employment opportunities among minority groups.
The Innovation Authority already has 14 dedicated training and placement programs for the Arab sector,” added Bin. “We also set up a dedicated program to encourage entrepreneurship in the Arab community that includes innovation centers, accelerators and angel clubs. The present call to tender therefore aims to expand the models and programs for training and integrating STEM and other tech-adjacent subjects into the tech industry.”
The call to tender is part of a long-term partnership between the Israel Innovation Authority and the Directorate General of Labor to increase diversity in recruitment in the tech industry. The first stage was a call to tender to boost Haredi employment in tech.
Proposals for the present call to tender should provide a solution to one of the following challenges:
- Developing infrastructure and tools to find and filter candidates, including assessment and mapping, assessing potential within human capital and widening access to industry for that human capital within minority communities, to encourage employers to engage in remote employment within areas identified as having potential;
- Exposing potential candidates to employment opportunities in a knowledge-rich industry;
- Integrating employees without prior professional experience;
- Filling in gaps in professional knowledge and training for potential candidates with a relevant background (depending on the population and its background);
- Increasing employment opportunities among minority groups.
- The Human Capital Fund pathway will be awarding two types of grants:
- For a requested budget up to 1 million NIS (pre-seed/seed-stage programs) – the Innovation Authority will contribute up to a total of 70% of the approved budget.
- For a requested budget of 1-15 million NIS (scale-up/growth-stage programs) – the Innovation Authority will contribute up to a total of 50% of the approved budget, and up to 70% of the approved budget in exceptional cases.
- The criteria for assessing requests are as follows:
- Degree of innovation and uniqueness of the program
- The entity’s capabilities, including relevant experience, management skills, relevant partnership-building abilities and estimated ability to bring the program to fruition and implement it within the determined time-frame.
- Relevance to the priority areas outlined above.
- Relative growth in high-salary new or existing employees.
- Estimated number of participants joining the industry, promoted, or dissuaded from leaving the industry.
- Scale-up potential and ability to firmly establish the program in Israel, including providing a sustainable business model going forward.
- Effectiveness and practicality of the program (cost/benefit).
- Diverse demographics: extent of integration of the Arab population into the proposed program.