Funding will be $25 million to be invested over the next five years
Google announced on Sunday that it will fund skills development programs for members of underrepresented communities in Israel to the tune of $25 million over the next five years.
The announced goal is to give a boost to these communities, which include ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, women, cities far from the center of the country, in the high tech sector.
Google said it would announce a similar initiative for Palestinians later this week.
Israeli Arabs make up about 20% of the country’s population, but only 3.5% of tech workers, according to Tsofen, an organization that promotes tech activity in Arab cities and the integration of Arab Israeli citizens into that sector.
The ultra-Orthodox represent less than 3% of high-tech workers, while the share of women in this sector is around 28%, according to the latest figures available.
The high tech sector in Israel has about 350,000 people, or about 10% of the working population.
In recent years, the government has tried to address a chronic shortage of talent in the sector, as well as a lack of diversity, by promoting various programs and initiatives aimed at integrating members of underrepresented communities into high tech.
In addition, the differences in wages and the growing socio-economic gaps in the country raise concerns. While the average monthly salary in Israel for salaried employees was around 11,667 shekels (3,210 euros) in December, it was around 26,242 shekels (7,227 euros) in the high-tech sector.
Last week, the head of the OECD, visiting the country, described Israel’s structural challenges as being linked to a “two-speed economy” and said the country must “close the socio-economic gaps to promote economic performance.
Google’s initiative, according to the announcement, aims to “address these challenges by offering high-tech skills programs for adults and teens, to help diversify the Startup Nation’s workforce.” “”.