August 12, 2009

Delet P'tucha - Opening the Doors to Employment for Ethiopian Israelis

Today’s modern workforce can be an intimidating place for any job seeker but for Ethiopian Israelis, it is at least 10 times as daunting. Cultural differences, language barriers and literacy issues are just a few reasons why even the thought of finding a job for many Ethiopian Israelis is a terrifying idea.

In order to address this issue, JDC introduced the Delet P’tucha curriculum and website in 2007 for teaching Ethiopian-Israeli adults Hebrew and how to enter the workforce.

Website URL:

Utilizing culturally appropriate materials and a uniquely designed website that is sensitive to Ethiopian-Israelis cultural background and learning styles, this program focuses on content that is relevant to job seekers and to the newly employed seeking to advance in the workplace.

The Delet P’tucha (Open Door in Hebrew) program is geared towards Ethiopian-Israeli adults that have a wide ranging level of education. After learning Hebrew in class, students are encouraged to use this new website to further their language skills in their own pace at home or in public libraries.

Most websites on the internet today are overflowing with text, links, videos, advertisements, along with all sorts of bells and whistles. All the choices, distractions and such can be very intimidating to someone whose Hebrew reading (and speaking) skills are rudimentary at best. Compare this picture of the Ma'ariv website, one of Israel’s more popular news publications:

or something a bit more familiar like the front page of The New York Times website:

with the front page and menu page of the Delet P’tucha website:

When entering the Delet P’tucha website, the user encounters a calm atmosphere. Each box is a clearly marked link and the entire site utilizes both text and sound so users at differing reading comprehension levels can navigate the site easily.

The website also has a series of short video clips, short texts and other relevant vocabulary that is useful in the workplace. Topics discussed in the clips and text include: ‘Why work?’, ‘Why be punctual?’, ‘How to look for a job’, ‘What to expect in an interview’, ‘How to work together’, and ‘Being paid for overtime’.

The Delet P’tucha program, launched in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Adult Education Department, Israel’s Adult Education Association, and Israel’s Center for Educational Technology, is currently running in 17 cities and thus far 450 adults have completed the program. Though technically still in the initial stages of implementation, Delet P’Tucha has been well received by both students and teachers.

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