Government Authorized Ministry of Economy and Industry’s Program for Integrating People of Ethiopian Origin into Israeli Society at a Total Cost of NIS 55 Million

​​Primary target: integration of thousands of male and female employees in high-quality and appropriate employment, while increasing their salary and employment rates

Yesterday, as part of the government initiative to integrate those of Ethiopian origin in Israeli society in the best possible way, the Ministerial Committee on the Integration of Israeli Citizens of Ethiopian Descent into Israeli Society authorized a dedicated multi-year program. The program, submitted by the Ministry of Economy and Industry, focuses on the following policy targets: integration in high-quality employment appropriate for qualifications, while increasing salary and employment rates, development and advancement of human capital, and increasing the number of business enterprises. The program has a budget of over NIS 55 million, to be spread over four years.

Among other elements, the program includes guidance for better employment, providing vouchers for vocational training, the launch of a dedicated enterprise fund, an incentives program for employers to employ those of Ethiopian origin at high salaries, and a track for job placement for academics. The main measure of success for the program is upgrading employment, while integrating 3,600 people of Ethiopian origin into the job market.

The Ministry of Economy and Industry program for integrating those of Ethiopian origin in the employment market was created following Government Resolution 1300 from 9 February 2014, which obligated the government ministries to recommend a new policy for advancing the best possible integration of those of Ethiopian origin in Israeli society, and Resolution 324 from 8 July 2015, which authorized the acceptance of the program’s cornerstones. The Prime Minister’s Office is coordinating the ministerial programs.

During a process lasting a year and a half, the Ministry of Economy and Industry held consultations with a large number of parties that have an interest, knowledge or authority in this area: academics, organizational representatives, government officials, representatives of local authorities, regional representatives and public activists. All comments were collected and arranged into a list of insights that were brought to the Ministry administration. The Ministry’s Department of Strategy and Policy Planning was charged with finalizing a cohesive program to include goals and targets derived from the cornerstones so as to formulate a concrete means of action while coordinating between the various ministerial units.

The program targets require integrative activity to realize them, integrating between the demand for employees among the employers and available jobs. An inter-ministerial program was therefore designed and will be jointly operated by the Senior Deputy Director-General and Head of Employment, the Israel Small and Medium Businesses Agency, the Investment Center and the Commission for Equal Employment Opportunities. The budgetary program was created for four years, but represents an overall policy change in the Ministry’s activity.

A joint committee of a representative of the Ministry and representatives of the Ethiopian community will be established to implement the program and examine how the program targets will be met, leading to the best possible implementation.

Senior Director for Strategy and Policy Planning at the Ministry of Economy and Industry Michal Fink: “The program approved today at the ministerial committee is the result of a long process that included cooperation between various units within and outside the Ministry, fruitful consultation with people of Ethiopian descent, and an analysis of the current situation in the economy. It emerged from the process that most of the focus needs to be on the field of upgrading employment. While the participation rate for those of Ethiopian origin is similar to that of the general population, their unemployment rate is higher (8.8% as against 5.9% in the general population), the gaps in salary are significant and there is a 40% gap as compared to the general population, irrespective of education. The main success measure for the program is integration and upgrading employment for around 3,600 people of Ethiopian descent, and includes a range of tools designed to best integrate those of Ethiopian origin in the labor market, while emphasizing upgrading employment and integration in high-quality employment, and increased salary levels. I believe that our professional work in cooperation with the community representatives will lead to the advancement of those of Ethiopian origin and the achievement of significant targets in their integration in high-quality positions in the job market.”