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A Listening Ear Helps Israelis Find Work and Direction

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Posted on: 
1 Feb 2022
A Listening Ear Helps Israelis Find Work and Direction

When life gives you a few knocks and hopelessness overwhelms you, sometimes all it takes is a listening ear and a word of encouragement to restore your hope again.

Through our “Giving a Future and a Hope” aid program, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem seeks to be there for Israelis who have suffered a few of life’s knocks, ensuring they have a place to turn. One way the ICEJ has offered hope is through our support for an employment call center which reaches out to those in desperate need of advice and direction.

As Israel endured several long lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic over recent years, many small businesses were unable to sustain their staff, and thousands of Israelis suddenly found themselves either let go from their work, or on extended furlough with little compensation.

The ensuing family crises meant that the employment call center went from 1,500 calls annually pre-pandemic, to responding to 8,700 calls for help in 2021 alone! An urgent need for expansion in technology, volunteers, as well as volunteer training was needed to meet the sheer volume of desperate callers.

“Knowing that we could offer hope and practical help to a lot of people in crisis, we didn’t hesitate to come alongside the call center to allow them to make the necessary upgrades to their system”, remarked Nicole Yoder, ICEJ’s Vice President for AID and Aliyah.

With help from forty trained volunteers, 45% of the callers received advice and referrals to other organisations offering employment programs, vocational training, aid assistance and information about their rights. Another 25% of the callers needed personalized advice and assistance as they were facing specific employment hardships. An additional 9% received personalized ongoing coaching over the phone for several weeks, aimed at bringing about a meaningful employment change, while 21% of callers could participate in live Zoom sessions for guidance on employment-related topics, like job market trends and job-hunting tools. All these recipients also could ask questions and receive immediate answers and assistance.

Yael Biton* was one of these desperate callers. As she reached out to the call center in April 2021, she explained that she was fired from her work in Human Resources at her company because of the coronavirus pandemic. Living in a small community in northern Israel, she was not able to find new work for over six months before contacting the call center. With very few vacant positions, she desperately needed help in focusing her search for a new job.

Zehava, a new volunteer who had just completed the call center’s training course, became Yael’s listening ear. It did not take long for the two of them to form a bond. Zehava helped Yael to discover her employment dreams, identify her strengths and weaknesses, worked with her to re-write her CV and guided her in preparing for job interviews. During this process, Yael discovered that she would like to switch job sectors and began a focused job search. Not long afterwards, Yael found work as a Volunteer Coordinator at an overnight camp for sick and special needs children.

“Zehava’s help was invaluable and contributed greatly to my success in finding this job”, said Yael. “She helped me through a difficult period, boosted my morale and strengthened me in all aspects of the job-hunting process.”
More wonderful testimonies from Israelis whose lives were changed continue to flood into the call center.

“I wasn’t alone in the job-hunting process”, said one caller. “The mentoring I received from my volunteer coach boosted my morale and helped me feel that I could move forward. My mentor gave me tips and shared his rich professional experience and helped me pinpoint my search.”

“Just the fact that I had someone to talk to, helped a lot”, wrote another caller desperate for someone to talk with. “It helped me get my thoughts straight, focus and motivate myself to action.”
After conducting a survey among those receiving prolonged employment coaching, we can report that:

> 90% percent of the callers reported that through the coaching received, they became more focused in the type of work they wanted to find.
> 89% indicated that the coaching helped them cope better emotionally with the job-hunting process.
> 88% gained relevant knowledge about the job market.
> 81% said they gained job-hunting skills.
> 19% reported finding work after receiving help and guidance from their dedicated volunteer.

Your generous donations allow the ICEJ to continue meeting urgent needs here in the Land of Israel. Thank you for making it possible to help give a future and a hope to many struggling Israelis and their families.
 

 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

 

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