IT Works, an independent charity operating throughout Israel since 2006, is introducing the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP).
YEP, a holistic program aimed at Israeli teens from disadvantaged communities, combines technological education with volunteering and personal mentoring. The program intends to prepare high school dropouts for their national army service and for skilled employment in their local communities.
YEP enables Israeli at-risk-youth without a Bagrut (the equivalenthigh of a high school diploma), many of whom suffer from undiagnosed behavioral disorders or have criminal records, to create a life for themselves by providing the tools and knowledge for personal and professional development through technological education and professional development workshops.
Most Israeli at-risk-youth are susceptible to poverty due to unemployment. Those who have left school without attaining a high school education often work as unskilled laborers or turn to criminal activities. Many of the students lack family support and live in foster homes.
Resources and guidanceYEP encourages positive engagement with the community, teaches useful employment skills, and prepares Israeli youth-at-risk for army service or integration into the workforce.
“At-risk-youth find it nearly impossible to integrate themselves into the Israeli workforce or army service,” said Ifat Baron, founder and executive director of IT Works.
“YEP aims to provide the resources and guidance to prevent future unemployment among at-risk-youth and combat antisocial behaviors – giving them the opportunities they deserve.”
IT Works will help participants find suitable employment and assist those starting the army with entrance into units that will utilize their technological skills and in turn advance their future careers.
IT Works will offer employment counseling and mentoring to all of the participants upon completion of the course. The students will be guided to the next stage of their life with advice from IT Works’staff, providing every participant with someone to turn to for professional guidance.
YEP courses are open to Jewish, Druze and Arab at-risk-youth between the ages of 15 and 18. The program will operate in six low-income communities across Israel in the first year of the program. Each class is comprised of 25 students from the local area.
The National Insurance Institute of Israel has committed to fund 50% of 18 YEP cohorts over the next three years.
This year, IT Works will run two programs in Kiryat Gat (partner-city Chicago) and Netanya (partner-city Cincinatti) for Israeli Jews; in Umm al-Fahm for Israeli Arabs, and in Usfiya and Shfaram for Israeli Druze.
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