A joint initiative between an Israeli nonprofit and the US embassy in Israel has led to a jump in employment diversity within 47 companies in Israel, the program operators said.
The 47 Israeli and multinational companies gathered at an event Monday night at the Herzliya residence of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Called “Diversity Works,” the program is run jointly by itworks and MEPI. The former is a nonprofit that promotes diversity in the Israeli workforce. MEPI, or Middle East partnership initiative, is the US embassy’s initiative to promote stability in the Middle East by working with the government, NGOs and the private sector.
The 18-month long project led to a 150 percent increase in employment diversity at these firms, attendees of the event were told.
The project had a number of goals: to connect candidates from marginalized populations with potential employers; to raise awareness among jobseekers that companies are looking to hire employees like them; and to promote the importance of diversity in the workplace within the business sector, both as a social value and as a growth engine for employers.
The program also initiated workshops for CEOs and HR professionals within the companies to discuss the importance of employment diversity and how to help promote it within their workspace and at other organizations.
At the event, Procter & Gamble, Nokia, and Citibank received the “Leading in Diversity” award for their success in hiring diverse employees and encouraging dialogue within the business sector about the need for diversity.
“Diversity is one of America’s great strengths — in society, in government and in business.” Friedman said in a statement. “We are proud to work with itworks, the Israeli government and private companies to help spread the economic and social benefits of the Startup Nation across sectors that have been underrepresented. This is key to a healthy society and a real benefit to the companies.”
The “Diversity Works” program is now planning to expand its programs to other companies in the Israeli high-tech sector.