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The state will finance 66% of the salary cost of a former employee or manager of a high-tech company who is hired by a company in a traditional industry, under a pilot program drawn up by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's Director General Sharon Kedmi.

The state will pay 33% of the salary cost of the second such employee hired by the low-tech company.

The program aims both to get high-tech workers and managers back into the labor market after the recent economic crisis, and to improve the overall level of knowledge and expertise in traditional industry, in order to boost development prospects.

Eligible candidates must hold a college degree in engineering, electronics, software, exact sciences or natural sciences, and have experience in managing product development in the high-tech industry.

The hiring companies will receive NIS 200,000 annually from the Chief Scientist's Office to subsidize the first employee, and NIS 100,000 for the second employee.

Kedmi says that the subsidy will allow the new employers to pay the first employee about NIS 25,000 a month, which is considered a high salary even in the high-tech industry. The subsidy will enable the second worker to be paid about NIS 18,000 a month.

Industries eligible to participate in the pilot include textiles, metal, plastic, food, jewelry, wood and paper, provided that they have received no other assistance from the Chief Scientist's Office in the preceding five years.

Qualified industries will also have to show sales revenues of between NIS 10 million to NIS 100 million, with research and development costs not exceeding 7% of the revenues, and have more than 20 employees.