Net@ Ramle addresses a critical need for quality technology instruction, volunteer opportunities, and coexistence programming among the city’s 14- to 18-year-olds. For Israeli youth, computer literacy and technology skills are essential for elite placement in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as well as future academic and career success. However, students from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds are less likely to have access to computers and technology instruction. Moreover, Israel’s hi-tech industry is concentrated in the country’s central urban areas, meaning that opportunities in this rapidly growing sector are less accessible to youth from peripheral communities. Net@ aims to close the technology gap in Israel, helping youth from Israel’s margins achieve socioeconomic mobility and gain access to fulfilling military service, academic study, and professional growth.
Since 2003, Net@ has developed young leaders in Israel’s social and geographic periphery through technology and social activism. A joint project of The Jewish Agency for Israel, United Israel Appeal (Keren Hayesod), Cisco Systems, Inc., and Appleseeds Academy, Net@ builds teens’ academic and career skills while providing opportunities for leadership training, community involvement, and volunteerism.
Net@ measures benefit to the community by its graduates’ performance according to three key measures:
Number of graduates drafted to elite Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) units: Recognizing the advanced skill set of Net@ graduates, the C41 unit (Telecommunications Unit) appointed a lieutenant colonel as a liaison to directly recruit Net@ students. Half all eligible Net@ graduates in Ramle enlist in high-ranking IDF military units, including intelligence and technology, compared to just 23% among youth in Israel’s periphery who are not enrolled in the program.
Academic success: Net@ students are more likely than their peers to pass the national matriculation exams, an essential step toward university study. The program strengthens students’ critical thinking and study skills, contributing to increased success on the exams. Additionally, the program allows participants to improve their English language skills, which accelerates their academic success. 94% of youth in Net@ pass their matriculation exams, compared with just 44% of their peers who are not enrolled in the program. In Ramle, the average score on 2013 matriculation exams was an impressive 90%.
Volunteerism: Net@ students are twice as likely as their peers to volunteer once they have graduated high school. Over the course of a year, Net@ students volunteer for a total of 60,000 hours.