The Israel Innovation Authority will offer NIS 30 million for projects offering innovative models to increase the supply of workers to the hi-tech industry.
Israel’s hi-tech sector is suffering from a chronic shortage of manpower, a problem that has become exacerbated in the past year as more companies have raised large financing rounds. The authority’s Human Capital Fund program aims to help solve this challenge through innovative and ground-breaking projects designed to increase the supply of Israeli workers.
The Innovation Authority said it will offer grants of up to 70% of the project’s budget for programs under NIS 1 million, and up to 50% for programs requiring up to NIS 15 million.
“During the past year, the hi-tech industry broke records in raising capital, significantly increasing the need to recruit skilled workers, thus intensifying the problem of a chronic shortage of workers in the industry,” noted Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority. “In addition to this, the rapid growth of a large number of companies dramatically increased the need for technological and business human capital. The manpower shortage is the most significant challenge for the continued rapid growth of the Israeli hi-tech industry and for preserving its international leadership and competitiveness.”
The fund will work to support different types of projects in areas like training, specialization, placement and more, with an emphasis on the entire Israeli population, including under-represented groups, as well as workers from abroad. It will seek to define challenges rather than the solutions, and examining “bottom-up” proposals according to uniform criteria, such as the addition of skilled manpower to the industry, the proposed program’s level of innovativeness, cost/benefit aspects, ability to enlist partners, ability to scale-up the program, and more, the authority said.
Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen (credit: PHOTO AMAL NAZARETH)
“This is an important step in addressing the strategic challenge in the short-term over the coming few months,” said Science, Innovation, and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen. “It joins a series of steps which the government has already taken: the five-year plan to integrate the Arab sector into the hi-tech industry, which was part of the recent budget passed by the government; a national education program for hi-tech learning, which will gradually make hi-tech studies an obligatory school subject; an investigation which is currently being carried out by the Israel Tax Authority to consolidate tax incentives to encourage overseas human capital to join the Israeli hi-tech industry for a yet to be determined period of time; and the removal of additional obstacles, making things easier for hi-tech companies to smooth the absorption of the workers needed into the industry. Addressing this problem is complicated, and it requires a comprehensive long-term plan, without giving up on immediate steps like this call for proposals.”Farkash-Hacohen added that she is leading a plan to consolidate numerous hi-tech manpower projects into a single long-term plan to increase the percentage of employment in Israeli hi-tech over the next five years, as the government has set among its goals.