We offer a real opportunity for Ethiopian Israelis to integrate
in the high-tech industry
Tech-Career is an Israeli NGO established by and for Ethiopian-Israelis. In 2002, there were only four Ethiopian-Israelis working in Israel’s high-tech industries—and none of them had been trained in Israel. Tech-Career’s founders recognized the importance of opening the door to technological careers for young Ethiopian Israelis.
In 2016, more than 550 Ethiopian-Israelis have earned certification in Tech-Career courses and are pursuing careers in leading Israeli tech firms. Tech-Career’s vision is to serve as a springboard for young Ethiopian-Israelis to gain the knowledge and skills to pursue promising and sustainable careers in fields in high demand in Israel’s high-tech industries.
Job placement rates for graduates of Tech-Career courses reached 93% (for courses conducted between May 2013 and October 2015). Career prospects of Tech-Career graduates are also boosted by collaborations with high-tech firms who participate in developing the course content. A key component of tech-Career’s program is workshops in “soft” business skills, mentorships and group and individual guidance to prepare students for employment in the dynamic culture of Israel’s leading high-tech firms.
Tech-Career’s Entrepreneurial Incubator Program
In 2015, Tech-Career realized its dream of creating an entrepreneurial incubator to enable its most promising graduates to make the leap from tech professionals to entrepreneurial leaders. A pilot was initiated in 2015-2016: Some 15 talented and motivated Ethiopian-Israeli tech professionals were recruited to participate in the Entrepreneurial Incubator. They gained vital knowledge, insight and practical guidance to advance their dream start ups. Their enterprises included innovations to bring crowd sourcing to a new level of efficiency, management tools to help independent business owners and a goods exchange marketplace designed to assist families with young children. At present, there are plans to open a new class for this pilot.
Profile of a Tech-Career Graduate, Class of 2014
I was a one-year-old child when I arrived in Israel in 1984. I am from a family of ten children and we made our journey to Israel through the Sudan. Like thousands of others who took this path, we lost family members to disease and hunger. Despite the tremendous hardships, we held on to our faith that Israel is our home.
When we first were settled in Israel’s North, my parents struggled with a new language and culture and the demands of earning a living. Although they couldn’t help us with our homework, they encouraged and motivated us to succeed.
Three years ago I was accepted to Tech-Career’s software testing course. Today I work at a leading Israeli technological firm. The interview process and the security check took five months - but I felt Tech-Career prepared me. It was not just a matter of the technological qualifications - Tech-Career also helped me master the “soft” business skills of navigating the interviews and planning my career path. After working at my job for two-and-a half years, I’ve been awarded two certificates of excellence. It is very satisfying and I feel that I am always growing.
I grew up in Israel - yet there are still many gaps between me and my non-Ethiopian peers. I didn’t have access to the world of professional work - and if my brothers hadn’t graduated from Tech-Career, I wouldn’t have had any exposure to the culture and dynamics of Israel’s high-tech industries.
I couldn’t be where I am today without Tech-Career. It is not just a feeling - it’s been confirmed by my experience. Human resource directors and managers look for very specific qualifications - and Tech-Career helps us to meet that standard.
In a relatively short time, I gained the skills to pursue a professional career at the forefront of Israeli technology and I earn an above-average salary. As someone who grew up in a hardworking family that struggled to make ends meet, I don’t take that for granted.
I feel that Tech-Career graduates are a force for change in Israeli society. Most of the people I work with have never had any interactions with Ethiopian-Israelis. I feel my presence in our office helps to open their eyes, shatter stereotypes and lets them see our community in a new way.