ICEJ Gives Israeli Single Mothers New Confidence in Workplace
By: Laurina Driesse, ICEJ Media & Publications Director
Life sometimes takes unexpected turns—and for a young single mother, they can crush her dream of providing her children with all they need. Or they can cause an older mother to buckle under the reality of being alone in her 50s and struggling with a low-paying job. Yet, there is hope!
Confidence is being restored to many single mothers across Israel who are currently on social welfare, unemployed, or earning less than 5,500 shekels ($1,580) per month. With the ICEJ’s support, many of these Israeli mothers from all backgrounds and cultures have participated in a vocational training program to lower the poverty rates for Israeli single mothers and low-income women struggling to provide for their children.
The recruiting, screening, and mentoring process for participants to gain employment can take up to 12 months. Each course in the training program is taught by professionals and focuses on practical and theoretical studies. The courses are selected according to market needs so that when they finish the training, these moms will have marketable knowledge and skills.
Soft skills—like negotiating, writing a CV, time management, and preparing for interviews—are also offered in a special workshop at the end of the course. One recent course trained women to be insurance agents and gave them the certification required to enter the insurance field. ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah Nicole Yoder was invited to take part in their graduation ceremony.
“It was a joy to hear from the women about their hopes and dreams for the future,” shared Nicole. “I was able to congratulate them on their success and perseverance in completing a difficult course and let them know that we were excited about the new opportunities this certificate will offer them. I also was thrilled to let them know how the sponsorship came as a gift from Christians around the world who wished to strengthen them and their families. We are confident that they have a bright future ahead of them!”
Happy to see that most women successfully completed the Zoom course, the program’s instructor, Shimon, urged the women to be confident in what they learned, saying: “Step out! … When you enter the workforce, you’ll remember the material as you begin using it.”
He also encouraged them that the insurance industry has a shortage of workers in Israel right now.
“There is a lot of work. Companies are begging for workers. So it is a good time to look for work and get established. Jump in! Even in a part-time position. Often these positions become permanent. When you are in the water, you will learn to swim,” Shimon assured, adding that three of the new graduates had already secured employment in Jerusalem.
One woman shared about her experience taking the course: “In the beginning, I was pretty skeptical, lacking in confidence and fearful,” remarked Shachaf. “I wasn’t sure that I would understand. I was afraid about going to work and not being able to be independent. In the end, I did understand and will be happy to continue in this field and on toward employment. I need a change. I really enjoyed the course.”
Another woman named Vered said, “I liked that the course was only four months and felt that it was very focused and good. When Shimon started giving us questions for study and review, I found that very helpful. It was a lot of material, but the example questions helped me a lot. I liked that the course was focused—short and to the point!”
“I found the course interesting, intensive, and a challenge at a very high level. It helped me a lot,” shared a third participant, Yehudit. “Thank you for everything—and especially to the donors for this opportunity. It’s good to know that they are looking for workers with training. I’m about to have a baby, so I will have to wait a little before I can look for work. This course was better than I expected … I’m very happy that I had this opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Nicole spoke with Aviva, one of the first women to find work. Aviva shared how she had to give up the job because it was too far from her home, and she feared she would not measure up to working in a large office. This stress caused her to seek employment closer to home in a smaller office where she felt safer.
“For many of these women, it is a matter of gaining confidence, and I imagine that once [Aviva] proves to herself that she is able … she will move into other positions, which will be better paying,” assessed Nicole.
Thank you for your support in helping the ICEJ meet the needs of these struggling mothers as we seek to strengthen and support more disadvantaged families in Israel.