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September 11, 2022 11:31 am
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Israel Gives Green Light to Nationwide Plan to Boost High-Tech Workforce

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

An Israeli flag flutters outside the Bank of Israel building in Jerusalem August 7, 2013. Picture taken August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/

Israel on Sunday approved a nationwide plan to develop and boost its high-tech workforce with a focus on the integration of underrepresented populations from the Arab to the Haredi communities as the country suffers from a shortage of skilled workers.

“Hi-tech education from a young age, as well as expanding representation and roles, are essential steps. This is right morally and it is right economically,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated. “Our government is not talking about preserving the status quo, but about breakthroughs.”

“Israel has the characteristics and the potential to be one of the ten most successful countries in the world; this plan is a good start,” Lapid remarked.

Over the next five years, the demand of skilled high-tech workers is expected to outstrip supply and lead to a shortage of over 100,000 employees, according to a governmental report cited by Israeli business news portal Calcalist .

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The approved government plan includes a high-tech education program, which will start from the current school year to improve technological, cognitive and digital proficiency to help the younger generation to adapt to the needs of the 21st century labor market. About 600 8th grade classrooms in around 120 schools and about 1,500 kindergartens will be part of this year’s pilot plan. Next year, the pilot will be expanded to additional 8th and 9th grade classrooms with a focus on the periphery before the plan will be spread to all schools around the country.

“Exposing kindergarten-age children to innovation, technology and spoken English, alongside a new plan for middle schools, is important in making the field more accessible to all Israeli children, and will assist in reducing gaps and creating equal opportunities,” said Education Minister Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton.

In addition, the government has set a goal to add 4,500 tech workers from the Arab sector, and 2,500 from the ultra-orthodox sector, with at least 45 percent of the Israel Innovation Authority trainees being women.

In 2022 to 2026, Israel seeks to recruit at least 1,500 high-tech personnel with relevant education from abroad, including those who are eligible under the Law of Return.

“The plan will tangibly strengthen the Israeli high-tech industry, boost links with world Jewry and serve as positive diplomacy for the State of Israel,” Israel’s government said in a statement.

During the same period, the government has a goal to increase by 2,000 the number of foreign experts coming to Israel to work for high-tech companies. As part of the project, the Israel Innovation Authority will operate support centers to assist high-tech companies in removing bureaucratic barriers and bringing high-tech workers from abroad.

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