New opportunities for women in Tirat HaCarmel


05 February 2010 New opportunities for women in Tirat HaCarmel A host of potentially well-paid opportunities await the 11 graduates of the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course which World ORT has helped to provide in Tirat HaCarmel, near Haifa. The women have overcome a host of logistical and educational obstacles over the past year in order to receive their internationally recognised CCNA certificate at a ceremony on Monday. This is an enormous achievement for them, said Ifat Baron, Cisco Networking Academy Manager in Israel. We had sought housewives, women who had never studied before and who had never thought of having a profession, or who were in very low paid jobs. They began at a very low academic level and have undergone a real change not only in their knowledge and abilities but also in their outlook. They now have enormous motivation to enter the workforce at a high level and to seek work outside the confines of their town. They see this course as a real gift that has been bestowed upon them. Kadima Mada Executive Director Rony Kalinsky and Tirat HaCarmel Mayor Arieh Tal at the launch of the CCNA course last year. Among them was Vered Halperin*, a religious mother-of-four, who addressed the graduation ceremony. I would like to thank everyone for this wonderful opportunity, Ms Halperin said. I am now able to do things with a computer that I would never have dreamed of being able to do. But I am not only satisfied in being able to understand things that I did not understand before; I believe that graduating from this course will change my life. I am very excited at what might lie before me. In fact, I have an interview next week with a major networking company so wish me luck! The CCNA qualifies holders to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot medium-size route and switched networks, including implementation and verification of connections to remote sites in Wide Area Networks (WANs), computer networks whose communications links cross metropolitan, regional or national boundaries. Developed and approved by the $39 billion-a-year, California-based company Cisco Systems Inc – the world’s leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet – the CCNA is highly regarded in the networking industry. In the United Kingdom, for example, demand for holders of the certificate has withstood the economic downturn and CCNA-qualified staffers can expect to earn about 35,000 ($50,000) a year. World ORT joined with Cisco and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to set up what has been the first such training programme in Tirat HaCarmel. There were so many applications for the course that a similar one for men was also set up last year. And, when funds become available, it is hoped to set up a CCNA course in Horfeish, near the border with Lebanon. Thanks to World ORT, students on the one-year pilot programme paid only a nominal participation fee meaning that candidates were selected purely on their suitability for the course and potential to assimilate and exploit the skills being taught. They gathered for two three-hour classes each week over a 10-month period in a room at the Eshkol Payis Centre for Arts and Science, which has been kitted out with an interactive white board and computer terminals by World ORT for use by students at Tirat HaCarmel High School, one of more than 30 high schools participating in the Kadima Mada programme. The Mayor of Tirat HaCarmel, Arieh Tal, was at the graduation ceremony. I remember well attending the opening ceremony of this special women’s empowerment course in conjunction with Kadima Mada, Mayor Tal said. I am pleased that you have succeeded in graduating despite all the difficulties – and new opportunities now stand before you. By investing in you, the population, we are investing in our wonderful town. I would like to thank Kadima Mada for their constant support – not all of you know that this programme is one in a long line of joint ventures. In fact, I sometimes feel that I meet Kadima Mada representatives at so many events in Tirat HaCarmel that you are already part of the population we will soon be charging you rates!’ *Name changed to protect privacy.