Equipping students with skills to integrate into the workforce and contribute to Israeli society

Vocational training at Miftan Alon high school
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REQUESTED DONATION:

$200,000

STATUS:

FOR DONATION

AREA:

PROGRAMS / EDUCATION

PROJECT 

Establish a social enterprise, a private function center, run by students at Miftan Alon High School.

OBJECTIVE

Teach vocational skills to students who struggle to achieve academically, to equip them to join the workforce.

IMPORTANCE

Hands-on vocational learning cultivates a sense of confidence, responsibility, decision-making, and other life skills, and empowers students to become contributing members of society. Without this program, these students’ prospects are bleak.

THE BACKGROUND

Miftan Alon is a high school for students who have left, been expelled, or given up on the formal education system. Students often arrive at Miftan Alon with the misconception that they are less capable than their peers. Throughout their time at the school, however, the talented educational and therapeutic staff support the students to harness their potential and achieve. Miftan Alon offers an alternative, skills-based learning programs in addition to standard academic courses, including computers, cosmetology, and graphic design. The students are also supported to complete their matriculation. The school is located in the Hatikvah neighborhood, which has a socio-economic index of 3.0 – one of the lowest in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

THE NEED

In Israel today, thousands of teenagers drop out of the education system or are at risk of dropping out. There is also a high incidence of “hidden dropouts” students who do not formally drop out of school (remain
enrolled) but rarely attend. There are multiple reasons why teenagers drop out of school. The reality for some is that they are not suited to the academic framework of the school. For them, the most effective approach is a vocational framework in which they learn and acquire practical tools and skills for the workplace, in a safe
and supportive environment. Engaging students in a business venture or social enterprise provides a challenging and interesting framework for practical learning. It cultivates a sense of self-confidence, personal and collective responsibility, and decision-making skills. Preparing students for the workforce can have a positive impact on their motivation and equip them with life skills. In addition, as Israel cements its position as a “foodie” and tourist destination and the food and hospitality industry booms, there is a growing need for skilled chefs, kitchen staff and service staff.

THE PROJECT

To facilitate students’ vocational skills and personal development, MiftanAlon High School aims to establish a social enterprise: a private function center run by students. The space will be designed to host private events and parties, and offer catering. The private function center will operate out of existing facilities at the
school – a large industry-standard kitchen and adjacent event space – which were recently renovated for this purpose. It will operate in the afternoons and evenings (after school hours).

There are three goals of the Miftan Alon vocational program:

1. Teach skills for an in-demand trade;
2. Empower willing minds by instilling a passion for their vocation;
3. Prepare students for a successful life beyond high school.

The program is designed for students aged 14-18 from low socio-economic backgrounds who suffer from various behavioral, social, and family challenges. The program targets students living in neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv and Jaffa, some of whom are already students at Miftan Alon High School. Eventually, 50 students will participate in the program. The program will provide employment with three shifts per week between 14:00 and 20:00, with an option to extend until 22:00. Between two and seven students will work each shift (depending on the growth of the business and type of event). Students will be paid for their work.

Outside of work shifts, the students will learn how to run a business, including planning, operations, marketing, administration, etc., and to develop vocational skills. Specifically, the program teaches the following skills to help make students employable in the hospitality industry:

– Basic cooking methods;
– Kitchen equipment use;
– Menu creation;
– Time management;
– Relationship management;
– Personal hygiene and sanitary work habits to meet industry standards.

The goal is that students participate in the program for 12-18 months, facilitating their integration into the labor market. The target audience of the center includes (1) businesses of all sizes seeking conference, meeting or workshop spaces; and (2) neighborhood residents seeking a venue for private events. The demand for private function spaces in Tel Aviv-Yafo is very high. This was confirmed with businesses and event producers who were consulted in preparation for this project and expressed interest in using this space.

Project Milestones:

– Establish a team of professionals to guide the project and students (including an interior designer, chef, marketing, and business professionals).
– Identify suitable students from Miftan Alon High School and surrounding neighborhoods to participate in the program.
– Train students to work in the center, including developing a business plan, and teaching them cooking and service skills.
– Renovate the existing space so it meets the needs of prospective customers and complies with all regulations.
– Identify prospective customers.
– Develop collaborations with conference and event production companies.
–  Commence operation. The program will operate for at least three years.

Measures of Success:

– Number of students who participate in training.
– Number of students who work.
– The level of remuneration received by participating students.
– Number of participating students who integrate into other employment programs.
– Number of participating students who integrate into the workforce.

Project partners include:

– Youth Rehabilitation Service in the Israeli Ministry of Labor;
– Welfare and Social Services, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo;
– Social Security Fund for Children and Youth at Risk;
Zionism 2000.

Zionism 2000 will manage the program ongoing, drawing on its extensive experience running social businesses for youth at risk in Israel (since 2003) and working with the Youth Rehabilitation Service (since 2010).

THE INVESTMENT

The Tel Aviv Foundation is seeking support to cover the remainder of the startup costs. Once the private function center is operational, it will run on a user-pay system and is designed to be self-sustaining.

Total budget  $427,500

Zionism 2000 Funding secured – includes the salary for a program coordinator for three years. $102,000

Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo Funding secured – includes renovating the space and its surroundings including adjacent garden. $125,500

REQUESTED DONATION Funding requested to enable the private function center to become operational and to utilize the outdoor space. This includes equipment, furniture, bathroom renovations, lighting, initial marketing, and the annual salary of a trainer. $200,000

 

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