It is well known that the rate of employment among Haredi men is much lower than the national average. According to the Ministry of the Economy’s Report for 2015-2016, the percentage of employed Haredi men between the ages of 25-64 is only 45.4%. This is especially concerning in light of the growth of the Haredi population as a percentage of the general population. Lower employment rates among a large population group will eventually decrease the general employment rate, leading to declines in GDP, widening of economic gaps and even higher levels of inequality. Promoting the Haredi population’s economic productivity is therefore a critical priority for the entire country.

While lack of higher education is a very serious impediment to economic development, Haredi men also suffer from discrimination and cultural-specific obstacles that hold them back in finding quality employment. Research by the Ministry of Economy found that in comparison with non-Haredi Jews, the process of searching for work was harder for Haredi men. It took longer, the response ratio was significantly lower, job interviews were fewer and salaries lower. Haredi men reported suspicion and doubt on the part of potential employers regarding their ability to integrate into a diverse work environment. These obstacles multiply the burden which characterizes entry of excluded minority groups into the labor market: lack of relevant social networking, fear of stigma and exclusion, lack of self-promotion skills, cultural differences causing failed job interviews, and so on.

itworks has implemented a one-of-a-kind program to facilitate entry of Haredi men into the skilled workforce. The program so far has been extremely successful, mainly thanks to the cross- sector partnership behind it- Ministry of Economy and Mafteach Centers . 

The program targets Haredi men ages 21- 45 in different regions, who are unemployed or working in unskilled jobs that do not match their education or abilities, who are interested in entering the hi-tech workforce and present the motivation to initiate a change in their life. Currentyl, the program is running in cities such as Bietar Ilit, Modiin Ilit, Bet Shemesh, Safed, Haifa and Petah Tiqva

Progem goals are:

  1. Helping Haredi men achieve employment that is commensurate in skill levels and pay with their education and abilities.
  2. Fostering economic development and poverty reduction in the Haredi population while reducing the gap in skilled employment between the Haredi population and the general population.
  3. Increasing the hi-tech’s work force diversity.

for additional information and enrollment: Chen Rokach, chenr@itworks.org.il