From the Desk of Takele Mekonen
Dear Friends and Partners,
The past year has been characterized by a profound socio-political crisis and a tech industry slowdown. These challenges have affected both Tech-Career and broader Israeli society. Furthermore, the tragic Adana family incident, which triggered extensive community protests, contributed to social turmoil throughout the country. On behalf of the entire Tech-Career family, I extend sincere condolences to the family of the late Rafael and express my hope that justice will prevail.
Despite these challenges, Tech-Career continues to run extensive activities for Ethiopian Israeli young adults. Our activities gained substantial recognition from official sources during the past year, culminating in receiving the Presidential Award for Volunteerism from among hundreds of organizations and individuals considered for the prize.
Over the past 21 years, Tech-Career has trained over 1,300 young adults, equipping them with knowledge and skills to succeed in the high-tech industry. The organization’s achievements have been especially notable in the past year. For example, our new In-Tech program, which introduces young Ethiopian Israelis to a wide variety of technology careers and guides them towards training and placement, has been remarkably successful. The first two program cycles concluded with over 137 participants. In preparation for the third cycle, we organized seven exposure events that attracted hundreds of interested participants from across the country.
The demand for enrollment in our technology training courses continues to break records, with 900 perspective students inquiring about the four courses that opened thus far this year. We expect the number of Tech-Career students to reach 200 in 2023. We are proud of our job placement rate for our DevNet courses. Half our graduates from May 2023 found employment in less than two months of course completion. In the current course, 12 of 21 students secured jobs in their field before program completion!
Tech-Career is currently in contention for two major tenders with the Ministry of Labor and the Innovation Authority to expand opportunities for young Ethiopian Israelis in the high-tech sector. Winning these tenders will allow us to increase the scope of our training programs, expand, and open a branch in northern Israel to serve Ethiopian communities residing far from the country's center. I am delighted to inform you that Tech-Career has achieved another milestone in our quest to establish a permanent facility for our operations. Our plans have been officially approved by the Urban Planning Committee in Lod, marking a significant step forward toward our vision.
On behalf of our Tech-Career students, graduates and staff, I wish you all a wonderful New Year. Tech-Career’s achievements are, among other things, the result of our invaluable partnership with all of you. I sincerely appreciate your generosity and faith in our work. It is my hope that the coming year will be one of unity, dignity, freedom, and social solidarity, towards a better society for the sake of future generations.
Thank you again for your significant partnership and support.
I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful, and Prosperous Year.
In-Tech Exposes Hundreds to High Tech
Launched in October 2022 in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Tech-Career's In-Tech Program aims to increase the number of Ethiopian Israeli adults entering Israel's high-tech industry by familiarizing young people with high tech professions and supporting them through training and placement processes. The program’s experiential methodology significantly enhances personal capabilities and strengthens motivation to integrate and succeed in the field. Participants are accompanied by a team of instructors and facilitators who assist in refining personal career vision and formulating a practical plan going forward. Our objective is for 1,000 Ethiopian Israelis to enroll in tech studies by the end of 2024! So far, we have held two program cycles with a third set to begin after the holidays.
Cohort 1: Half of the program graduates registered for professional training or academic studies in technological fields of their choosing at institutions including: Tech-Career, University of Haifa, HIT College, Ono Academic College, Tech-School (Google and Reichman), Upscale, IITC, and more.
Cohort 2 began in April 2023 with 130 participants accompanied by eight highly experienced mentors across the country. Program sessions were generously hosted by eight high-tech companies: Intuit, Aleph Farms, Novidea, LSports, Philips, Trigo, HP and Check Point. The program exposed participants to the world of high-tech and the various roles in the high-tech industry. Participants met with senior employees from different companies who discussed their daily work and answered participants' questions. During the second program stage, participants visited leading companies, including ironSource, Talon, Monday and Check Point, significantly contributing to participants' knowledge and understanding of the tech industry with its diverse roles and opportunities. Following this tasting from the fields, participants chose the area that they found most appealing and participated in a study fair that we organized at Check Point with various training and academic institutions. They also attended Google's flagship #IAmremarkable lecture.
The second program cohort concluded in July 2023. Out of 110 successful graduates, 35 are already in the process of registering for studies at various institutions, including Analysis, Tech-Career, Ono Academic College, Ecom, Developers Institute, HIT, Tel Aviv University, Reichman University, Google (Tech-School), among others, in fields such as software development, UX/UI, communication networks, QA, information systems, and data analysis.
Cohort 3 is expected to begin in October 2023, with approximately 260 participants. We have already held seven exposure events across the country – from Be'er Sheva to Haifa – with more than 500 participants!
While the In-Tech program has just begun, it is growing at an exhilarating pace. One of its early successes is collaboration with Aluma’s "Hesegim" (Achievements) program and the Ministry of Labor’s "LaMerhak" program. In-Tech trains and supports the academic advisors of these programs to provide the best possible academic guidance for program participants at the enrollment stage. In this way, In-Tech leverages resources from various NGOs and government ministries towards a common goal. We are proud that within a very short period, municipalities from all over the country have joined us: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Sderot, Afula, and Kiryat Malachi. These important collaborations are reflected in financial support, new marketing channels for the program, and connections with companies and volunteers in the high-tech industry nationwide.
We are now in the process of forging a partnership with the 8200 Alumni Association, where volunteers will accompany participants throughout the program until they enroll in studies. In addition, this collaboration will assist in refining professional content, developing connections with the industry, and more.
Course Demand Skyrockets
Demand for our programs breaks records. In the past year, Tech-Career held exposure conferences for 900 candidates interested in four courses, following by applicants who underwent a recruitment processes, including meetups, online testing, and interviews. We accepted 108 students into two Cisco DevNet courses, one Data Analysis course for women, and one DevOps course for Tech-Career graduates.
Cisco DevNet Courses
In the past year, Tech-Career launched three Cisco DevNet courses in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense. The courses ran from August 2022 to May 2023, January to September 2023, and July 2023 to April 2024. These intensive courses include over 750 study hours and more than 200 hours of career preparation. Participants attain Cisco international certifications (CCNP, CCNA, and DevNet) and undergo training in Python and Linux. The success of these courses derives largely from the fruitful partnership between Tech-Career and Cisco Israel, as well as the leadership of Yacov Nagose, our Tech-Career graduate who leads the pedagogic content of the courses. Yacov is a senior DevOps Engineer at Unity. We wish to express our gratitude to IITC College, our long-time educational partner.
Cisco DevNet, August 2022-May 2023 with 22 students. The course concluded with a graduation ceremony at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) after eight months of intensive studies. During the ceremony, we heard the inspiring life story of Melesa Waltao, a systems engineer, who began his journey as a shepherd in Ethiopia, immigrated to Israel at the age of 15, completed high school and a bachelor's degree in electrical and electronic engineering, served as an officer, and now works as an engineer at IAI. Melesa, who was awarded first prize on behalf of the President of the Israel at the IAI’s Outstanding Employee Awards ceremony, emphasized to our graduates: "Every stage is a step forward, keep moving, and always think about your next role. If you dream, you will achieve. Don't give up on yourselves, always learn new things, and challenge yourselves - first and foremost for yourselves, but also for your families, society, and the country."
We are proud to report that 11 graduates started working at Amazon, Bynet Data Communications, Partner, among other companies, all within two months of successful course completion!
Cisco DevNet, January-September 2023 with 21 students. With the course about to end, participants have been very busy with their studies and other content including career preparation, site tours, and volunteering. Here is just some of what they have been up to: a visit to Check Point where they toured the company's cyber and IT centers, meeting with Talent Acquisition professionals and Tech-Career graduates working at the company; visits to Cisco, Oasis and Bank Leumi, career preparation workshops, including on storytelling and CV writing; motivating job interview simulations with tech companies such as At-Bay, Cognyte, AT&T, Nvidia , LiveU, Linear B, Rafael, Cisco, Imperva, and more; financial management and other enrichment workshops.
All 21 students passed the three international certifications, and before the completion of the course, 12 have already been accepted at jobs at Purepeak, Internet Binat, Internet Rimon, CGS, Netgroup Atmos and OMC!
In addition, course participants volunteered with 66 school children at the Ma'apilim school in Lod, as part of a project in collaboration with First and F5, exposing them to STEM education. This volunteer opportunity allowed Tech-Career students – future community leaders - to become inspiring role models to children.
Cisco DevNet, began in July 2023 with 16 students. They are already studying CCNA modules, attending enrichment lectures, including on public speaking, family economics, and time management with volunteers from Meta (including Tali Yaakov who once worked at Tech-Career!), Israel Discount Bank, and Cognyte, and visited Ono Academic College to learn about various options for undergraduate studies. Participants will take their first CCNA certification in October and begin volunteering at the Ma'apilim school in Lod after the holidays, in the framework of the joint project with First and F5.
Data Analysis began in March with 24 students, all women with academic degrees. Participants in Tech-Career's current Data course are highly motivated working mothers with Bachelor's and Master's degrees who decided to take a further leap and enroll in an intensive and challenging course to impact their (and their families') futures. The comprehensive course, led by Shahar Stern and Ram Kedem, is taking place in the evenings, and is expected to run until December 2023. The course is offered in collaboration with our partners: Upscale Analytics, Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Riskified, and Payoneer. Content is based on the analysis of real industry data and includes enrichment lectures, practical projects, and workshops. The career preparation segment, which includes how to implement career change and best express it in one's CV, will help participants develop necessary skills and expand their networks. We have ensured that each student is accompanied by a mentor from the program outset until she finds a job. Mentors are industry professionals working as data analysts, some of whom are graduates of Tech-Career, who also assist in improving course content to ensure that students benefit from the course and find the right role for themselves. Among our mentors are Lior Yardeni from the "Women Integrating Women in High-Tech" community and our amazing alumna Orly Elazar,.
So far, participants have completed a segment on SQL data analysis and are studying real business problem analysis through technological tools. They visited Payoneer, where they met with recruiters and company analysts who shared insights about their role, entry points, and what to focus on to secure a job in the field. After the holidays, participants will begin working on Power BI and Python.
DevOps began in August 2023 with 21 students, all Tech-Career alumni.
Tech-Career's new DevOps training course was designed specifically to provide our graduates with additional opportunities in the tech world. This high-level course is conducted in collaboration with Develeap, a leading DevOps training company. The progam's selection process was rigorous; out of approximately 380 applicants, we accepted 21 graduates. Some are team leaders working at top companies and others are taking their first steps in the field. Participants meet for eight hours a week and already covered topics such as Linux, Python, and Docker. The 318-hour course will last approximately six months. Four trainers from Develeap accompany the students and are available to assist them around the clock.
Special thanks to Robert Cohen for his significant and generous contribution which made it possible for us to launch this course. We also thank Seth Davis and the Giving Group Community
for their steadfast support.
Despite the tech market slowdown, Tech-Career graduates are continuing to integrate successfully in the industry:
Cisco DevNet, course to end in September 2023 - 12 students have already been accepted at jobs, prior to course completion, at Partner, Internet Rimon, Purepeak, CGS, OMC, Internet Binat,
Bynet Data Communications and Netgroup-Atmos
Cisco DevNet, completed in May 2023 - Within 3 months of course completion, 11 graduates started working at Bynet Data Communications, TripleC, Internet Binat, OMC and Comel.
Enriching our Students
Mentoring Program - Over the past six months, 60 senior mentors from the high-tech industry have accompanied our students in various training programs, providing ongoing support throughout their training and as they enter the job market. They share their personal and professional experiences, help students write their CVs and expand their professional networks, open doors and assist in the job placement process. Our dedicated volunteer mentors work at organizations such as: Oasis, AT&T Israel R&D Center, Nvidia, Cisco, Torii, Infiniti, Wix, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Energy, PayPal, Trigo, Microsoft, Bynet Data Communications, Taldor, Malam, Bank Hapoalim and Check Point.
Networking Workshops - Moshe Zini continued to provide career preparation workshops and accompany Tech-Career students this year, working with students from two of our training programs - Data Analysis and DevNet. As always, Moshe provided participants with deep insights into the LinkedIn platform and professional-social networking, and entered into a candid dialogue that gave students an invaluable opportunity to gain useful knowledge.
Time Management Workshop - Isabela C. from Cognyte visited us to conduct a workshop on time management for students from two DevNet courses, which they enjoyed thoroughly and learned a lot in the process: how to not waste their energy on unimportant matters, how to save time by planning in advance, how to understand what may be most beneficial and helpful for them. They also learned how to plan weekly tasks, the importance of flexibility while prioritizing, and how to distinguish between tasks that increase their energy from those that are draining.
Financial Management Workshop – In the workshop held at the Israel Discount Bank, participants learned about smart budget planning, worthwhile potential investments, and even the role of children as intermediaries between parents and the bank.
Job Search in a Changing Reality Workshop - held by Cognyte's HR Director Danielle Yaffe.
Developing Independent Learning Skills - Tali Yaakov who previously worked at Tech-Career and now is at Meta and volunteers with our students, conducted a number of experiential workshops that provided tools on searching for and filtering information, time management, independent learning styles, individual and team learning.
Preparing for Presentations – Long-time volunteer Robert Bell from AppsFlyer provided students with a workshop during which they learned how to prepare and deliver a presentation in English.
English B'Yachad - 400 Participants!
We are very proud of our continued partnership with "Skilled Volunteers for Israel," which has provided almost 400 students, graduates, and staff members with an opportunity to strengthen their English language skills through the "English B’Yachad" program. This program allows participants to work individually with mentors from the United States, Canada, England, and Israel, through weekly meetings via Zoom to practice their English communication skills. The program also assists students in crafting compelling CVs and preparing for job interviews in English. Beyond language learning, English B'Yachad fosters connections with people from diverse backgrounds around the world. We would like to express our gratitude to Ms. Marla Gamoran, Executive Director of Skilled Volunteers, Dr. Minna Wolf, Program Director of English B'Yachad, and all the dedicated volunteers who make this initiative possible.
Community Role Models
Students from the DevNet course which began in January, participated in a special volunteer project with 66 school children at the Ma'apilim school in Lod, exposing them to STEM education through First's robotics kits, in collaboration with First and F5. A leading global non-profit, First inspires young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators. The program is being made possible thanks to F5's generous donation of robotics kits and introduction between Tech-Career and First. This wonderful opportunity has allowed Tech-Career students and future community leaders to become inspiring role models for the children. New Tech-Career students are eagerly awaiting their turn to begin volunteering in this project.
Strengthening our Alumni
Ono Academic College - Tech-Career and Ono Academic College have forged a partnership that grants graduates of Tech-Career’s Software Development courses 26.6 academic credits and a discount on college registration fees. This is Tech-Career’s first academic collaboration and adds another seal of quality to our training programs. As part of this collaboration, two open days were held for graduates of our development courses, which led to the enrollment of 16 graduates in Information Systems and Computer Science studies.
Yotam Avivi - Yotam is a dedicated volunteer with Tech-Career, serving as a mentor in our Software Development courses. Yotam is a software engineer at Trigo, and he has chosen to expand his partnership with us by conducting a series of study and practice sessions on data graphs and algorithmics for our graduates.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - As part of our collaboration, IAI hosted the graduation ceremony for one of our DevNet courses. Additionally, the company invited Tech-Career graduates to participate in an exposure event where employees from IAI’s Missile Systems and Space Division and Elta Division will discuss their roles and conduct tours of various industry units. HR managers will provide an overview of employment opportunities at the company, and suitable candidates will have the opportunity to be interviewed at the end of the day. Thirty Tech-Career graduates have already registered to the exposure event.
Oozy Bitew, a senior software developer at Wix, Tech-Career graduate and member of the board, invited Software Development graduates to job interview practice sessions, at the end of which they had the opportunity to interview for a job at Wix.
In the framework of our cooperation with Linear B, the company held a job interview day for automation graduates, which led to placement at the company.
Courses to Launch by Year-End
- Cisco DevNet, in partnership with the Ministry of Defense – October 2023
- Cisco DevNet, in partnership with the Ministry of Defense in Tech-Career's new branch north of Haifa – November 2023
- Cyber and Data Communications, in partnership with the Ministry of Defense – November 2023
- Cyber– December 2023
Presidential Award for Volunteerism
Tech-Career received the Presidential Award for Volunteerism, one of the most prestigious honors in Israel's social action sphere, at a moving ceremony at the President’s residence in June, 2023. In honor of Israel's 75th anniversary, the award ceremony celebrated the country's unique resilience and social bonds. One of 12 winners this year, Tech-Career received the award for work with our extraordinary volunteers who have taken part in the organization's activities for many years.
We dedicate this award to all of you, our partners on this journey - volunteers, graduates, students, funding partners, tech partners, training partners and the entire Tech-Career team. We are deeply grateful for your unwavering support.
Senator Rudy Boschwitz visited Tech-Career
In April, we had the great honor of hosting Senator Rudolph (Rudy) Boschwitz, who served as a United States Senator from Minnesota from 1978 to 1991, at our campus. One of the most active and well-known members of the American lobby for Israel during the negotiations regarding Operation Solomon, in 1991, Boschwitz traveled to Ethiopia as a special envoy for President George H. W. Bush where he was an intermediary between Israel and Ethiopia. During his visit to Tech-Career, 93-year-old Boschwitz met with students in the classrooms, told them about his involvement in Operation Solomon, and showed them pictures from his many visits to Ethiopia. The students were thrilled to meet one of the most influential figures in the community's Aliya during the 1990s.
Joint webinar by Tech-Career and the Ministry of Labor
As part of the efforts by Tech-Career and the Ministry of Labor to integrate Ethiopian Israelis into the high-tech industry, we combined forces and conducted a joint webinar on the government's incentive program designed to encourage the employment of junior workers who are underrepresented in the industry. Many companies participated in the webinar, including Cognyte, BioCatch, Matrix, Internet Binat, Partner, AWS, John Bryce Training, and more.
Exposure to the Ethiopian Israeli community – a meeting at AppsFlyer
The first of two meetings on the subject took place at AppsFlyer, a longstanding Tech-Career partner. Tech-Career CEO Takele Mekonen provided a historical overview on Ethiopian Jewry, and shared his inspiring and emotional immigration story. After the holidays, a second meeting will take place, in which we will discuss employment and integration of Ethiopian Israelis.
Advancing Capital Project
Tech-Career continues to progress towards the construction of our campus on land allocated by the Lod municipality. Over the past months, our professional team has been diligently working to meet preliminary requirements of public building committee, including the creation of a new development plan for the lot which was approved by the city architect. On August 27th, Tech-Career received the public building approval and passed technical compliance processes. We hope to receive the building permit in December 2023 and open the campus by May 2025. Tech-Career is currently working to raise the remaining $682,000 out of the project budget of $6.2 million.
Oded Masala, Full Stack Software Development Graduate
I am excited to share my story. My name is Oded Masala and I am an Israeli, a member of the Ethiopian community, raised in Lod. My journey from military service to technology is a testimony to values such as adaptation, growth, and the importance of community.
I grew up in Lod, the eldest of four siblings. I spent my formative years at the "Yitzhak Navon" youth village in Nahalat Yehuda. My time there led me to meaningful service in the IDF - for seven years - from which I was discharged as a sergeant, commander of combat platoon.
Looking to the future, my aspiration is to excel in roles that not only encourage lifelong learning but also promote social inclusion and diversity. As someone fluent in Hebrew and English, I am highly motivated to expand my global impact. Tech-Career's support has enabled the incredible journey I have undertaken, and I hope that my story serves as both inspiration and a call to action for others navigating critical decisions in their lives. Thank you, and Happy New Year!"
Lidor Adheneny, Cisco DevNet Graduate
“My name is Lidor Adheneny, and I am 23 years old, from Sderot. I completed my military service two years ago, and afterwards, I started working as a security guard. During this period, I thought a lot about the future. About a year after I began working, my father told me about Tech-Career's DevNet course and I started to read a bit about the field and became interested. During the selection process for the course, I understood that it would be a very intensive program that requires students to dedicate a lot of time and be away from home, but the long-term benefits made it worthwhile.
I successfully passed the selection stages and started the course, not without some concerns. Very quickly, I adapted to the pace and learned how to use my study and practice time effectively. Another thing that helped me in my studies was the support and assistance from my fellow students. I learned that I am capable of learning independently, managing my time efficiently, and exploring new technologies in the field of communication.
The course provided me with many tools for my future career, such as job interview preparation, CV writing, and improving my English skills. Today, I work at Bynet Data Communications as a communication technician and enjoy learning new things every day."