Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Career Alternatives [“Chen”] Haifa

Career Alternatives is working with some of the finest Haredi seminaries in Israel to train their young women to enter professions that are more gainful and in higher demand than the over-saturated field of teacher education. Career Alternatives ensures that these young women will be able to contribute significantly to their future families while remaining true to their Haredi values.  By working with the top seminaries, TEVET seeks to help quietly stimulate cross-sector change in women's employment, as other seminaries look to adopt more gainful and diverse career training. 

ELISHEVA is the teacher; the girls will leave here in two years with full preparation, it’s an incubator that helps them think and initiate. She shows some examples of projects:

E-book viewer in E-pub format. It’s an ‘electronic college’ for religious texts, normally in pdf format (which doesn’t allow interactive use). This was a project designed by 7 girls, it’s very exciting – they had to figure out text format from right to left, new fonts, nikud, footnotes; we’re looking at Megilat Esther. The advantage of E-pub is that it adapts itself to the format of the screen (ipad/tablet, iphone, laptop etc) so the challenge is e.g. with the Gmara how to add the parshanut – they used floating windows.
There’s nothing like this in the religious world and it’ s very exciting. It will change the way religiou s people read texts online; what was funny was they were explaining that the text is essentially a rolling scroll … which is what the original text was, I pointed out (pas-glila), so there was something very positive about the discussion.
Multimedia children’s stories, e.g. to teach road safety. This is a huge issu e in the haredi world. 7 girls worked on this project.
There are 27 girls on computer studies first year, 18 in second year, total 45. All aged 18-20.

ETTI (Tevet coordinator) – the Bet Yaakov structure is very strong in the Haredi world, very well respected, traditionally for training teachers and kindergarten teachers but the income for this is decreasing and less funding. There's a new generation of girls who see work differently and the need to bring income differently. There’s always been a connection with the Joint. We’re focusing on realizing people’s potential. Especially here in the seminars – a girl who studies two years has studied 2600 hours in total. If we don’t get into the curriculum we’ll miss a great opportunity for both the haredi community and Israeli society. It’s not simple.
The Seminar is first and foremost and educational institution for building up the girls as good women, good mothers, good citizens. How to grapple with reality, building a Jewish home with Torah, values, ethics but at the same time realizing that there’s no Torah without flour.

Bet Yaakov is the ‘manufacturing factory’ of Haredi society, motivated by the value of education. Partners in Chen include Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Tamat, Seminars, JDC.

There's no model to build here. If your father is a lawyer or a doctor, you can understand and aspire to a career. But here there's no option like that, which is why the role of the employment coordinator is so critical. The girls have no way to think differently.
PNINA is the employment coordinator for Chen. She comes from the community. They couldn’t bring in outsiders like psychologists, advisors etc., because you have to t rain and communicate with people from the inside, there was opposition because of the differences in language and culture. So people like Pnina came to the JDC-Tevet courses and were trained by the best from the outside world, but they themselves are from the Haredi world.

PNINA for the second year we’re working on computer graphics and software engineering, while also adapting the materials to the haredi world. The girls are learning and discovering new skills and capabilities. There are things I can do, and I enjoy, that I didn’t know beforehand. It’s progress. We’re saying to them, come with your values and b uild in the world of employment.
There are 21 Bet Yaakov Seminarie s. Chen is in 12 of them. This is the 3rd year in Bet Yaakov Haifa.

Now the girls are learning about interviews, networking, personal marketing, self-confidence. They ran simulations how to do an interview for a job, how to write a resume for the first time. There’s a barrier and they need to do a mental switch, but it’s not opposed to their values. The first year (i.e. third year of program) girls have already found employment in places like Elbit, Rafael, Electric Corporation, and more.

We visit the classrooms, Elisheva is teaching unitask/SQL database management code. There's a huge demand for people with this skill. This is a second year class.

Eliezer is showing one of the final projects for one group of girls – it’s the entire software package for restaurant management, 100 pages, well-designed and extremely professional, with pull-down menus for different food categories (vegetarian/price/calories/needs/etc) working in conjunction with the kitchen, wait-staff and more. Very impressive.

No comments:

Post a Comment