JobKatif started out as a kind of ‘shidduch’ service, helping match GK evacuees with jobs that were available on a random basis. We quickly realized that while this was ‘helpful’ we were not creating a firm and viable foundation for satisfying, equitable and gainful employment. Over the years, we developed numerous programs to ensure that the Gush Katif evacuees could enter the work force and maximize their potential. Trained JobKatif counselors interview Gush Katif evacuees to gain first-hand knowledge of their capabilities, needs and goals. Based on these interviews, evacuees will be recommended to undergo one-on-one sessions over a maximum period of three months, and/or will pursue one of five different tracks: employment placement, launching a new business, professional retraining course or volunteer employment.
To date, JobKatif has helped 2,650 Gush Katif evacuees find employment. JobKatif staff maintain close contact with dozens of potential employers throughout the country. JobKatif staff work with Gush Katif evacuees to help them write their curriculum vitaes, and prepare for job interviews, thereby maximizing their chances to gain employment.
Second generation Gush Katif residents — many were teenagers at the time of the disengagement — realized that their future could be better secured by earning academic degrees. JobKatif worked with Yedidut Toronto and private donors to build a scholarship fund. To date, more than 200 students, studying in recognized universities and colleges, have been granted one or two year scholarships.
A good number of the Gush Katif evacuees were entrepreneurs and small business owners. Some of them wanted to continue along this vein and, as a result, JobKatif worked closely with some two hundred families to help them launch small businesses. In addition to counseling, viable business ideas were provided with subsidies. These small businesses, located throughout Israel, run the gamut of ideas — from a bicycle store to an optician, from a supermarket to a catering business, from a clothing designer to a pottery studio.

Over the years, more than 200 small businesses were established. JobKatif counselors continue to be available to help Gush Katif entrepreneurs with counseling, advice and in some cases, loans or subsidies.

In many cases, Gush Katif evacuees were not able to continue in their professions. JobKatif counselors met with evacuees to evaluate their competencies in a wide variety of fields. Oftentimes, they would recommend a professional retraining course to enrich the evacuee with new skills that would make them eminently more employable. JobKatif funded some 600 professional retraining courses, and more than 85% of those who completed the courses were able to find employment in new fields.
To help Gush Katif evacuees ease into the work force, JobKatif created a bridge-to-work volunteer program, whereby an individual could initially ‘volunteer’ at a particular place of employment, perhaps to gain experience, help convince the employer to hire the individual on a full-time basis, or help convince the evacuee to ‘accept’ employment in this particular place. JobKatif provides a minimal monthly salary-subsidy to help smooth the way to full-time employment.
JobKatif’s mission is to empower marginalized individuals to enter or return to the workforce, in order to earn a livelihood and secure financial stability. Throughout the past ten years, JobKatif has helped thousands of individuals achieve these goals. JobKatif’s array of programs, each tailored to a specific population group, offer vocational training, business consulting and career counseling. In 2013, JobKatif launched Achotenu a nurses training program for Ethiopians.

Achotenu: Nurses Training Program for Ethiopians
Pilot Program

In order to best assist Ethiopian women to gain education and then stable employment, we used the best practice of conducting a needs assessment: we interviewed Ethiopian women throughout Israel to better understand their needs, interests and career aspirations. Over 90% of respondents expressed interest in studying nursing. Our research also indicated that Ethiopian women felt limited by restricted gender roles and a lack of role models and mentors. However, the women also noted their financial limitations and their perception that they could not meet admission requirements.

JobKatif launched Achotenu — a nurses training program for Ethiopians — in 2013. Twelve young Ethiopian women joined the pilot program. Achotenu is the first program to enable Ethiopian women to be accepted by Israel’s nursing schools WITHOUT fulfilling the psychometric exam requirement. Achotenu is the only program working to change the system of academic admissions for this sector.

As we near completion of the program, ten of the women will be graduating in 2016 and have already been guaranteed positions as nurses (Registered Nurses) in Israel’s hospitals. Two of the women will be graduating summa cum laude.

JobKatif provided financial, tutoring, mentoring and emotional assistance throughout the program, enabling the women to succeed.

Academic Nursing Program

The success of our pilot program demonstrates that Ethiopian youth can succeed in nursing studies within our supportive framework. Achotenu’s next step is to expand our impact, both by admitting a greater number of students and by raising the caliber of our program, from offering Registered Nurse (RN) certification, to offering both RN certification and a Bachelor’s in Nursing.

In partnership with Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital, and with the support of Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), we are opening a ground-breaking pre-nursing bridge program for the coming academic year (2016-2017). This will be the first university bridge program in Israel without a psychometric requirement for nursing for the Ethiopian sector. Our rigorous bridge program will accept 20 students on the basis of their
high school transcript and an interview. Participants will receive introductory science and English courses to help prepare them for nursing school, and will live in Hebrew University dormitories. Graduates of this program will gain acceptance into the Henrietta Szold Hebrew University Nursing School on the basis of their academic performance in this program alone. Achotenu will continue to support the students throughout the entirety of their degree, providing mentoring, tutoring, living stipends, and a full tuition scholarship‪.‬