Empowerment Hubs to Support Former IDF Soldiers
One in ten IDF soldiers serves in combat units in active fighting roles. Upon completing their compulsory service, former soldiers either pursue a college education or enter the workforce. However, for many from low-income families in Israel’s socio-economic periphery, higher education is out of reach due to financial obstacles or a poor academic record. Many are lone soldiers and new immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union and lack family and community support which makes navigating post-army life even more challenging.
In order to create opportunities for those with fewer resources to build successful careers and lives, ORT has partnered with Tlamim to offer former IDF combat soldiers access to higher education, employment, and empowerment tools to succeed. The program encourages former combat soldiers to pursue in-demand careers in practical engineering fields by supporting their training and by connecting them with job prospects.
World ORT Kadima Mada (WOKM) and Tlamim, have established “Empowerment Hubs” in the Galilee in the north and the Negev in the south to address the needs of recently discharged IDF combat soldiers. Hubs provide living arrangements, access to academic institutions, and contacts at regional industries so students can pursue their studies and work options. WOKM designs and implements a resilience-building, leadership skills, and empowerment workshop to equip participants with enhanced life skills and ensure their success throughout the program.
A pilot hub opened in October 2021 in Afula and two additional hubs in Dimona and Akko, are scheduled to open in fall 2022. Students participate in the hub for three years, until they complete their degree. The goal is to establish seven empowerment hubs serving up to 300 students per year by 2026. At scale, the empowerment hubs will offer a transformative experience for hundreds of young people to navigate their post-IDF future.
Through this comprehensive program, IDF veterans will acquire the tools they need to advance their careers and fill the need for skilled workers in Israel’s industrial sector.
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