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August 30, 2021 9:21 am

Israel Innovation Authority Hoping to Reduce Tech Talent Shortage With New Human Capital Fund

avatar by James Spiro / CTech

Participants at the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference, Israel’s largest international high-tech gathering, held at the Old Train Station complex in Tel Aviv on Sept. 6, 2017. Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90.

CTech – The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced that it has launched its call for proposals for its Human Capital Fund program. It is understood that the authority will offer NIS 30 million (roughly $9.3 million) to companies and support up to 70% of their models to help train and place reskilled employees in the high-tech industry.

“Israeli high-tech demonstrated strong resilience during the Corona crisis, thanks to the ability of the industry to quickly respond to a new work environment and uncertain conditions,” said Dror Bin, CEO of the IIA. “The manpower shortage is the most significant challenge for the continued rapid growth of the Israeli high-tech industry and for preserving its international leadership and competitiveness. We place great importance in working together with the industry in order to create beneficial, innovative solutions that will improve its current situation.”

The Human Capital Fund program hopes to solve the deficit of talent shortage across the country by supporting innovative projects that were designed to increase the supply of Israeli workers. Notably, it emphasizes Israel’s entire population, including under-represented groups and those from abroad. The fund will offer two forms of grant: the first is a requested budget of NIS 1 million, where the IIA will provide up to 70% of the budget, and the second is for a requested budget of NIS 15 million, where the IIA will fund 50% of the budget (70% in special cases).

In total, the skills will focus on “human capital” such as training, specialization, placement, upgrading, and more through defining challenges — not solutions. Proposals will need to fit certain criteria such as level of innovation, cost/benefit aspects, ability to enlist partners, ability to scale up the program, and more.

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“I congratulate the Innovation Authority on the publication of this important call for proposals, focusing on the serious problem of human capital and manpower in the Israeli high-tech industry, which is a national challenge for the Israeli economy as a whole,” added Israeli Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Orit Farkash-Hacohen. “Over the coming months, this important program will offer urgent solutions to the ‘juniors’ problem in the industry, incentives for professional training in a variety of high-tech fields, and the integration of academics, workers in the periphery, seniors, and other demographics which are currently underrepresented in the high-tech sector.”

Farkash-Hacohen added: “This is an important step in addressing the strategic challenge in the short-term over the coming few months, and it joins a series of steps which the government has already taken: the ‘Homesh’ (five year) plan to integrate the Arab sector into the high-tech industry, which was part of the recent budget passed by the government; a national education program for high-tech learning, which will gradually make high-tech studies an obligatory school subject; an investigation which is currently being carried out by the Israel Tax Authority to consolidate tax incentives to encourage overseas human capital to join the Israeli high-tech industry for a yet to be determined period of time; and the removal of additional obstacles, making things easier for high-tech companies that will smooth the absorption of the workers needed into the industry. Addressing this problem is complicated, and it requires a comprehensive long-term plan, without giving up on immediate steps like this call for proposals.”

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