The Working Together Initiative (WTI) Summarizes its First Year

The Working Together Initiative (WTI) summarizes its activities in a very significant, successful first year, in which it has attained remarkable achievements. WTI aims to integrate young adults in the periphery into meaningful employment while forming the best practices for achieving this goal. WTI is a joint venture led by philanthropists (philanthropic foundations from Israel and the United States) and the Israeli Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. WTI is being supervised professionally and financially by the “Lamerhav” organization, which established the contact with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in order to implement this initiative.

So, what happened this year?

The year began with a preparation period of the Integrating Body, the Eretz-Ir organization (formerly Tor Hamidbar). During this period, the required manpower was recruited, a mapping process was conducted to learn about the existing needs and solutions, and an information system was determined.

Following the preparation period, the phase of activities and implementation at the field began – engaging organizations to take part in the initiative, formulating working interfaces with the organizations, and their own preparation for the mentoring and guidance of young adults. The emphasis was on youth organizations and placement bodies that sought to enrich their capabilities in order to provide additional tools to the young adults that they are mentoring.

In addition, employers were recruited to participate in the WTI. Young adults were also recruited – both by the organizations and by direct appeals in the social media. These processes take place all the time, as WTI seeks to address the current needs of employers and to meet the aspirations of the young adults.

In the past year, knowledge has been shared and cooperations have been established between the various organizations, for example, in the personal mentoring processes for integration into employment. We believe that these processes will enable better guidance for young adults and the creation of a viable infrastructure for the integration into employment of young adults in the periphery.

The formulation of the responses led to the writing of procedures that would enable their implementation by the various bodies. It was a complex and important process of clarifying needs, formulating responses and converting them into work procedures.

Field-level collaborations with the operating organizations took place alongside maintaining close and meaningful cooperation between “Lamerhav” and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in order to allow the optimal implementation and to meet the needs arising from the field.

18 organizations take part in WTI and provide guidance to young adults. These organizations undergo training to provide employment-focused guidance for young adults as part of the WTI. The participants come from over 30 different communities in the Negev. This broad coverage in a short period of time was made possible in light of the work concept that advocates working with existing organizations.

Our achievements in the field:

  • Over 300 young adults joined WTI, and 200 of them are active participants.
  • Mentors from various organizations undergo training to provide employment-focused guidance. These training programs instill knowledge and tools, as well as create a network of colleagues among mentors of young adults from various organizations:
  • Last year, we held six training days for the mentors from the various organizations.
  • In addition, we held training sessions within the organizations, as well as training in small groups for mentors from the various organizations, as needed.
  • In addition, a number of mentors from young adults’ organization joined a JDC – TEVET training course in order to deepen their knowledge of the world of employment.
  • WTI provides guidance to employers, in order to bridge the gap between the perceptions of the employers and young adults, and to enable optimal integration and retention of young adults in the workplace:
  • In the first year of activity, we mentored six young adults, who employed young adults that had graduated the cookery course.
  • We established a joint team that included Nirlat, the Integrating Body – Eretz-Ir organization, and the Gvanim organization, to examine the possibilities of promoting young adults employed in Nirlat.
  • We created work interfaces with various employers in order to develop professional training programs, and to integrate young adults within the framework of WTI’s tools, such as providing apprenticeship possibilities to young adults at the beginning of their employment.
  • The Eretz-Ir organization has dedicated part of their Human Resources Forum meetings to the issue of young adults’ employment.
  • WTI held its first cookery professional training course. The course included cooperation with employers from the outset, and employment of the young adults in parallel with the training. Both employers and young adults provided positive feedback.
  • We approved 29 personal scholarships for professional training in fields selected by the young adults.
  • The program facilitates apprenticeship in the workplace, where young adults receive guidance from an experienced mentor in the workplace for the duration of three months. To date, 24 young adults have taken part in the apprenticeship program in their workplace.
  • The young adults undergo vocational evaluation.
  • Career workshops and basic skills courses were held to support the process of integration into employment.

What's next?

In the coming year, emphasis will be placed on the activities in relation to the employers – their recruitment method, tools and incentives, and their mentoring during the process of integrating and employing young adults.

Emphasis will be placed on professional training and ways of integrating young adults into meaningful employment. In addition, emphasis will be placed on developing knowledge and spreading it to the various organizations.

WTI is looking forward to the upcoming year’s operations, which will include significant activities with organizations and employers for the purpose of integrating young adults into meaningful employment in the Negev.