On June 16, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro met with heads and beneficiaries of several Israeli NGOs who are partnering with the U.S. Embassy and, through U.S. Government funding, are providing hi-tech training programs and English courses in order to promote economic empowerment within Israeli minority sectors and promote equality in the workplace.
Ambassador Shapiro stressed how the Embassy assists its NGO partners in expanding access to economic opportunity to all segments of society, which can improve the lives of individuals, communities, and the country and promote a shared society. Deputy Secretary Blinken noted the importance of drawing on all skills in society, as well as the importance of networking and creating new networks. He commended participants for their remarkable progress in diversifying and energizing the Israeli economy. All of the organizations were committed to bringing more women into the hi-tech sector, prompting the Deputy Secretary to note that the United States can benefit from these NGOs’ experience in order to get more women and girls in the U.S. involved in science and technology opportunities.
The organizations present noted how they have developed a culture of networking not only within their own organizations, but also with the other organizations at the table, as well as throughout the entire high-tech ecosystem in Israel and beyond. They also noted that US Government funding had helped them launch and expand their efforts to reach more participants.
The Israeli organizations that participated in the roundtable included:
- Tsofen-High Technology Centers, a nonprofit organization that promotes the integration of Israel’s Arab citizens into the hi-tech industry. Tsofen has received U.S. Government grants to fund two projects: A high-tech entrepreneurship center that includes an entrepreneurship school and “Launch Pad”/accelerator; and the establishment of several regional high tech center hubs promoting increased employment and equality of women in high tech industries.
- She-Codes, a community of Israeli female software developers with multiple daily activities across Israel in tech companies and universities, whose goal is to have 50% female software developers in the tech industry within a decade. The Embassy supports two Two weekly workshop groups focused on “Guiding Young Women to Work as Software Developers”, in Jerusalem and Haifa University, and the opening of a She-Codes high school chapter.
- Temech, the Center for Economic and Employment Advancement for Religious Women in Israel and Jerusalem Hub for Ultra-Orthodox Entrepreneurs, coaches ultra-orthodox women to start their own businesses through training programs. The Embassy currently supports two Temech projects: English Courses for Haredi Women Entrepreneurs; and Temech’s Annual Conference to Promote Entrepreneurship for Religious Women.
- Kama-Tech, an NGO that addresses the social and economic problem of a growing non-working, impoverished ultra-Orthodox class in Israel. Kama-Tech has received Embassy funding to support professional English courses for Haredi men and women within the hi-tech sector in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak to help advance their careers within this sector.