Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP): Empowering women to change their lives through employment in the technology and communications industries
Project Description: ITWorks’ Women’s Empowerment Program provides low-income and economically disenfranchised with the technological skills, professional tools and personal confidence to pursue dignified careers in Israel’s thriving hi-tech and communications sectors.
Through courses targeting a diversity of low-income women throughout Israel, ITWorks has qualified over eight hundred women for positions in the hi-tech job market in leading companies over the last eight years.
Prior to their participation in WEP, our beneficiaries were either unemployed, or working for low-wages as unskilled laborers (i.e. domestic workers). Today, some 70% of our graduates enjoy regular employment in which they can actively apply their newly acquired skills in a related field.
Need: As global decision makers continue to identify the importance of including women in the workforce, initiatives have been undertaken to ensure mobilization of the female population. The importance of vocational training has been emphasized, as well as the need to diversify the job sectors that women are eligible for.
This includes decreasing the ‘digital’ – or information technology (IT) gap – between women and men. ITWorks aims to address this need by training low-income and marginalized women for hi-tech jobs, and successfully placing them in relevant and accessible positions with dignified conditions.
Program Goals: To improve the economic situation of low-income and unemployed women by training them in the technological field which will enable them to gain skilled and sustainable employment in the hi-tech industry and advance professionally thus raising themselves out of poverty and providing a better life for themselves and their families
To increase participants’ self-confidence and employability skills through soft-skills workshops and one-on-one post-course employment support so that they will be able to secure and maintain quality jobs in the technological sector
Target Population: WEP participants include young women (18 and older) without academic degrees, from low-income backgrounds, who are members of communities with high poverty rates and low employment rates. WEP serves Orthodox and Secular Jewish Israelis, Ethiopians, women from the Former Soviet Union, Arab Israelis (both Christian and Muslim), Druze and Circassian women and has projected outreach to the Bedouin community for 2014.
Program Activities: a) A 3-month recruitment period; b) 50 hours of technical English classes; c) 335 hours of technological training; d) 50 hours of professional development and soft-skills workshops; e) 6 weeks of on-the-job training/ internship; f) 1-2 fieldtrips to hi-tech firms; and g) Up to 16 months job placement period, in which each participant is mentored and assisted in finding a suitable skilled technological position.