In a move that could drastically impact the careers of several Arab teens, the “Masar for Hi-Tech” preparatory program will be launched this fall, aimed at equipping Arab high schoolers in Israel with the tools necessary to further their education and hi-tech careers.
The program will be led by the Tsofen organization, which promotes tech activity in Arab cities and the integration of Arab-Israeli citizens into tech firms. It will also feature collaboration with the Rothschild Partnerships association.
“By supporting young people toward higher education success and integration into employment, the Masar for Hi-Tech Program will open up opportunities for the young people as well as serve the regional economy and the need for skilled and skilled manpower for technology industries throughout the country,” said Ravital Duek, co-CEO of Tsofen.
The program was announced during a hi-tech conference in Umm el-Fahm, which was led by Tsofen in collaboration with the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee Ministry; the Umm al-Fahm Municipality; and the steering forum for the advancement of hi-tech in the city.
“Today’s event is a ground-breaking event, a dream come true, the first hi-tech conference in Umm el-Fahm,” said Umm el-Fahm Mayor Dr. Samir Mahamid. “We see innovation and hi-tech as an economic, employment and image lever that will give our young people a future image and potential for self-realization.”
This program and others of its kind could drastically improve Arab employment in Israel, which has declined following the pandemic, according to a report from the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI). Increased access to hi-tech labor could specifically benefit Arab women, only 36.4% of whom were employed as of 2020.
Mahamid went on to announce the establishment of a technological hub in the city that will include a large employment area devoted to tech entrepreneurs.
“As part of raising awareness and promoting the issue, Umm el-Fahm, through the city’s economic company that believes in economic development, is building a hub that will open by the end of the year and in addition, we will allocate eight acres in the city’s employment area for hi-tech entrepreneurs” he said. “The conference, along with the initiatives in the city, will be a starting point for a better future.”
The advancement of Arab education is a crucial element in enabling more Arabs to join the Israeli workforce. According to IDI, “One of the main factors behind the relatively low employment rates for Arab men and women is their low level of education; 77% of the Arab population is educated only up to matriculation level or lower, and only 15% hold an academic degree. By contrast, 33% of the Jewish population have a degree. These gaps in education have implications not only for Arab citizens’ prospects of entering the workforce, but also for their potential earning power and working conditions.”
Tsofen’s conference was aimed at promoting hi-tech training and employment opportunities in the city of Umm el-Fahm and featured participation from industry members, employers, representatives of local authorities and the Knesset, representatives from government ministries, as well as entrepreneurs, talents, businessmen and school administrators. Also featured were panels on human capital and government decisions and support for promoting business growth in the Arab world.
Said Mahamid, “I believe that the partnership of the government, the third sector, the municipality and the city is the right recipe for realizing the potential of Arab society.”