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Israeli Gov’t to Fund NIS 21.6 Million in High-Tech Training for Arab Sector

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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.

A dozen programs meant to increase the participation of Arabs in Israel’s high-tech workforce will receive some NIS 21.6 million ($6 million) in government funding, the Labor Division of the Ministry of Economy and Industry announced this week.

The funding, allocated with the support of the Israeli Innovation Authority, will be used for industry training and placement programs for 2,239 Israeli Arab men and women over the next two years.

The move comes amid a sustained effort to increase the participation of the Arab sector in the high-tech industry, one of the leading engines behind the Israeli economy. While numbers have grown in the past 15 years, they still stagnate relative to the non-Haredi Jewish population.

Currently, only 2% of Arab men and 1% of Arab women are employed in the industry, though the Arab sector makes up some 20 percent of the overall workforce. In comparison, some 12% of non-Haredi Jewish men and 8% of Jewish women are employed in the high-tech industry, which also counts a disproportionately small number of Haredi Jews within its ranks.

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Of the 28 programs submitted for consideration, 12 were selected to receive government funding, over half of which will be dedicated to advanced development roles.

“The State of Israel considers the high-tech industry the growth locomotive of the Israeli economy that combines all sectors and populations in Israeli society,” said Dror Bean, CEO of the Innovation Authority.

“Although the percentage of Arabs employed in the high-tech market is still lower than the national average, in recent years we have seen a positive trend of Arab society’s growing integration into the high-tech industry and a significant increase in the number of Arab students studying in high-tech professions in academia,” he added. “Our goal is to increase the scope of Arab high-tech workers and create significant, economic, social and regional change as part of strengthening and diversifying Israeli high-tech. “

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