Onward Israel – Growing the Internship Experience in Israel

From Section:
Israel Education
Jan. 15, 2018
January 15, 2018

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


There has been a meteoric rise over the past five years in college students doing resume-building internships in Israel. Onward Israel has played a major role in this change, offering both six- to ten-week summer internships in Israel’s flourishing high-tech, business and nonprofit sectors and an immersive Israel experience program that strengthens Jewish identity and connection to Israel.

Onward Israel offers students, many of who have been to Israel with Birthright, the opportunity to return to Israel, get a quality internship in the “Start-Up” nation and participate in an immersive Israel experience program. Added to this was the fact that the internships are offered for six to ten weeks, during the summer, so these career-driven young people can get an internship under their belt without taking time off from college.

Onward offers internships in a broad range of fields that include business development, marketing and public relations, engineering, finance, health and medicine, education and nonprofit organizations. Most of the programs are based in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, with some in Haifa and Beersheva. Plans are underway to expand the program to areas outside of major cities and to involve additional sectors.

Onward’s growth has been impressive. In 2017, there were 2062 participants in 72 programs, with 90% working as interns. Participating companies went from 506 in 2016 to 966 in 2017. A 2017 survey of participating companies showed a 4.5 satisfaction rate on a scale of one to five, with Onward interns.

For the participants, the experience has proven transformative. In a 2016 ten-month post-program external evaluation, Onward Israel Back Home: From Engagement to Empowerment, carried out by Rosov Consulting, LLC, 75% of the alumni said they gained professional skills and 71% said that they gained valuable work experience.

In a longitudinal study with Onward alumni from cohort three (2014), also carried out by Rosov Consulting in 2017, graduates attest to the programs’ professional impact three years on.

The study, to be released shorty, states, “It is clear from alumni’s reflections in the survey that Onward played a key role in shaping or launching their career path. Some alumni noted that they began Onward with a clear and specific career goal in mind, while others were uncertain and hoped to gain greater clarity and direction. In both cases, alumni found that their internships helped them make connections, build their resumes, identify their strengths and weaknesses in specific professional fields, and open doors that would have otherwise been closed to them.”

“Many interviewees … mentioned that they have regularly discussed their experience during job interviews, and some have been hired or promoted due to the unique skill-set they gained during Onward, including working in an international setting and in a foreign language. For many alumni, Onward was their first “real” professional experience, and they learned how to navigate an office environment and develop their goal-setting, planning, presentation, and communication capacities. In this way, alumni’s Onward experiences played a pivotal role in “readying” them for the workforce.”

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy

Updated: Feb. 18, 2018
Internships | Israel education | Israel programs | Young adults