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The National Digital Program of the Government of Israel

Expand Employment Possibilities in the Digital Age by Removing Distance Barriers

Modern information and communication technologies enable us to stay connected from any place and at any time. This offers the potential to create new opportunities in the employment market that can increase output and improve productivity while driving economic growth.

The teleworking model enables populations that could not have worked in certain organizations to find employment and work at times convenient for them by working from home (e.g. workers from the Jewish ultra-orthodox population who for modesty reasons would normally refrain from working in certain companies, or single mothers that must leave work relatively early in order to care for their children). The teleworking model enables innovative employment arrangements that create new employment opportunities in the market.

Integration of teleworking arrangements offers extensive economic advantages at the country level – less people that must drive to work is expected to reduce traffic, air pollution and the need to build new roads. It can also contribute to increased economic efficiency, promoting economic growth.

Based on the potential of using digital tools, the National Initiative will examine possible solutions to expand the employment market in Israel and to reduce distance barriers that hinder the ability to take advantage of employment opportunities. Particular attention will be given to examining possibilities for promoting teleworking models in the private and public sectors by creating standardization for teleworking arrangements in Israel; providing tools and incentives to organizations that integrate teleworking models into their work culture; and facilitating the development of databases of telework positions as a platform for population groups that can benefit from this work arrangement[51]. This in turn will enable expanded integration into the labor force of population groups currently unable to fully realize their employment potential.

Distance Employment Centers in the Eastern Negev
(in cooperation with the Eastern Negev Regional Cluster)

As part of the activities of the Eastern Negev Cluster, in the framework of the National Initiative, remote employment centers have been established in eastern Negev local governments. Remote courses in employment areas have been conducted, and workstations with sharing tools are available so that employees from the Negev can work with employers located in central Israel.

These employment centers give those residing in the Eastern Negev cluster technological and professional tools to overcome geographic distances and disparities and to promote employment diversity, underscoring quality employment for residents of the eastern Negev.

Training Professional Workers in the Digital and ICT Fields

As described above, the high-tech industry, and within it the ICT industry, are an economic engine for economic growth, however their growth has decelerated due to a growing shortage of skilled workers in this field.

The modern digital age has created new positions of digital experts who are responsible for analyzing the large amounts of data created through innovative digital technologies, for developing user interfaces and for converting content into convenient and interactive digital formats. Consequently, there is a clear need and strong potential for increasing the number of qualified workers in digital and technological professions. A similar objective can be found in the digital strategy programs of leading countries that place an emphasis on strengthening and fostering academic studies and research in ICT and digital fields as a means of expanding the number of future workers in this industry[52].

This is also the case in Israel, as the National Initiative will underscore the development of a population of workers with professional skills in the ICT field (programmers, engineers, information system experts, etc.) and the digital field (user experience and interface [UX/UI] designers and specification writers, product managers and specification writers, data analysts, social media specialists etc.) and on increasing their share in the labor force in Israel[53]. To this end, as part of the National Initiative, the Education Ministry and the Council for Higher Education of Israel (CHE) and the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) within the CHE will act to increase the number of pupils studying STEM subjects (sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics), as the basis for expanding the pool of potential students in these fields needed for the ICT industry. The CHE Planning and Budgeting Committee will also continue its efforts to increase the number of students in these fields, with an emphasis on universities, according to government Resolution No. 2292 adopted on January 15, 2017, regarding the national program for increasing skilled workers for the high-tech industry.

Program for Strengthening Study Tracks in High-Tech Fields
(in cooperation with the CHE/PBC)

A designated program for increasing the number of students studying subjects needed in the economy, with an emphasis on high tech subjects such as electrical engineering and electronics, computers, information systems and computer science.

The PBC formulated a program that includes a financial incentive for universities to increase the share of students accepted to BA studies in high tech fields and reducing the dropout rate. This is accompanied by significant hiring of leading academic faculty in the relevant fields and investment in physical infrastructures to accommodate the increased number of students in these fields and ensure excellence in teaching and research.