Siraj’s programs aim to serve Negev Bedouin young people at several important stages in life – high school, higher education, entering the workforce, and building a career – in order to create a pipeline of qualified candidates for employment in hi-tech. Siraj’s wide range of innovative programs include:
Direct Path to Employment
Siraj’s On-the-Job Training (OJT) is an intensive six-month training program for high-performing Bedouin graduates that takes place within Siraj NGO’s subsidiary, Siraj Technologies Ltd. OJT trains 10 participants each year in hard and soft skills relating to a hi-tech workplace, with a particular focus on the company’s technologies. Siraj aims to enable every participant to secure employment following the program, whether at Siraj Technologies or other hi-tech companies.
This year, Siraj launched a new program called Tech-Way, which includes a four-month preparatory course and a two-year Practical Engineering degree from the Technological College of Be’er Sheva. Siraj accompanies some 25 students throughout the program, providing assistance in academics along-side training in soft and hard skills and works to secure placement opportunities at partner companies of the program.
Higher Education and Networking
Siraj’s new mentoring program for STEM higher education students aims to reduce dropout rates among Bedouin STEM students and prepare them for a career in tech. Siraj provides comprehensive support to students thereby increasing their chance of successfully completing their studies and finding employment afterwards. Siraj’s mentoring program includes two tracks: 1) dropout prevention for first and second-year students who are mentored by third and fourth-year students and 2) employment preparation mentoring for third and fourth-year students who are mentored by industry professionals. A total of 82 participants are currently enrolled in both tracks (42 mentees and 36 mentors in track 1 and 4 mentees in the second track.
In addition, Siraj hosts meetups, a series of cutting-edge events on innovation and entrepreneurship, catering specifically to the Bedouin tech community, but also attracting Jewish participants from the wider Negev region. The meetups will feature hi-tech industry experts, professionals, and other ecosystem stakeholders, from educators to government representatives. Through these events, participants will be exposed to the culture, norms and opportunities of the lucrative Israeli hi-tech. These regular events will become a fixture in the growing Bedouin hi-tech community, cultivating an active and close-knit ecosystem whose members can create and share new ideas, promote and access employment opportunities, solve problems, close industry gaps, network and more.
Outreach and Raising Awareness
Each year, Siraj engages thousands of high school students, parents, educators and community leaders through awareness-raising lectures and visits that encourage participants to pursue computer science, or STEM fields, in higher education and consider hi-tech as a viable career path and allow Bedouin youth to sense what a career in technology might look like. Siraj also hosts an annual Hackathon, a day-long coding competition for students from Bedouin high schools who compete in teams to develop mobile applications that address social needs. Siraj’s Hackathon is the only one of its kind, designed specifically for the Negev Bedouin community.