The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry is offering 85% tuition rebates on professional training courses to ultra-Orthodox men, Arab women and people with disabilities. Participants who are hired after completing their studies will also receive a grant of NIS 2,000, which should more than cover the balance of tuition fees.
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The benefits are part of a ministry program aimed at encouraging members of population groups with low employment rates to enter the workforce, after first acquiring skills that are in demand. The program has a two-year budget of NIS 30 million. The rate of employment among adults with disabilities and Haredi men is only around 50%, while only about 25% of Arab women in Israel work outside the home.
Smaller program benefits are available to other population groups, including new immigrants, ultra-Orthodox women, those referred by the Employment Service, youth at risk, residents of outlying areas of the country, single parents and newly released prisoners.
The available courses, whose maximum duration is one year, include subjects ranging from welding to computer programming and management training. While similar programs have been offered before, the proportion of the tuition rebates was lower and entry requirements were stiffer. In addition, there was no grant for participants who found employment in their chosen field after completing the course.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Naftali Bennett said Saturday that the idea was to give people who who want to work a fishing rod rather than fish, and in fact the ministry is calling its effort the “Fishing Rod” program.
The rate of workplace participation in Israel is lower than the average for Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development member states. Bennett said the program would help to boost Israel’s gross domestic product by putting more people to work.