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Vouchers for New Immigrants as Tools for the Job Market

Over the past two years, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption has operated a Vouchers Project, which seeks to increase adaptation of new immigrants to the Israeli job market. Within the project's framework, eligible immigrants receive vouchers which can be redeemed towards professional training in a program of their choice from a licensed college, as well as vocational counseling. Overall, 10,000 immigrants have taken part in the project.

The current study was commissioned by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption in cooperation with the S. Neaman Institute, and examined whether the Vouchers Project was effective in facilitating employment and in upgrading the status of jobs held by the immigrants upon graduation.

The study consisted of two parts. The first is a longitudinal study which surveyed about 500 immigrants participating in the Voucher Project during their professional training and after its completion. Parameters included, among others, level of satisfaction with program and whether their employment status improved as a result. Collection of data will be completed by March 2008 at which time preparation of a final report will commence.

The second part polled 326 immigrants following their training regarding their level of satisfaction with the program and their employment status. The results demonstrate that most of the participants were satisfied with the Vouchers Project and with their training programs; many of them would not have taken part in the training without the Vouchers Project. Moreover, immigrants' employment status improved: of the participants in the Vouchers Project 74% were employed, compared to 65% of the immigrant population in Israel.

Furthermore, a significant number of those participating in the Vouchers Project were employed in the trained profession as opposed to their previous line of work; they received a raise in their salaries and were promoted to higher levels of job status compared to their employment status prior to their enrollment in the professional training programs. To summarize, the Vouchers Project has accomplished its main objective of improving the employment status of the new immigrants.