Google and the Rashi Foundation, together with the Cyber Education Center, founded by Rashi, are launching the Hello Tech initiative in Israel, an AI literacy program for youth in grades 8-9, without previous knowledge of the subject. The program is starting as a pilot in three cities: Umm al-Fahm, Harish, and Ofakim. Future expansion is planned to other localities, aiming to introduce tens of thousands of students in the geographic and social periphery to AI and give them the skills for working in this emerging field. The initiative’s goal is to inspire and motivate the students to learn more, and to remove some of the obstacles they face on the way to a career in high-tech.
At the start of the program this past week, the Google offices in Tel Aviv hosted dozens of students from Ofakim for an experiential visit, with hands-on demonstrations of the different applications of AI in everyday life and an opportunity to speak with Google workers.
Hello Tech is operated by the Cyber Education Center founded by Rashi, together with the Moona Association and in cooperation with the Education Ministry and the participating municipalities. The curriculum is based on semester-long courses – general technology subjects in grade 8 and introduction to AI in grade 9. The students will get practical experience through the Generative AI software while learning about the everyday applications of AI and how to use it responsibly and safely. Special attention will be given to skills such as critical thinking, self-learning, and teamwork. To multiply the impact, workshops in AI and technology will be offered to the school principals and teachers, as well as to the parents.
Google has also set up an AI education lab, where its engineers will work together with the Cyber Education Center team to develop additional content in this field for children and youth.
Prof. Yossi Matias, VP of Engineering and Research at Google and Head of Google’s R&D Center in Israel, said, “We are proud to introduce Hello Tech, an educational initiative that will expose youth to the most advanced technology and give them a taste of the huge potential of AI. I believe technology is within reach of every child, and Hello Tech is our way to bring this knowledge to as many students as possible, regardless of where they live and what career path they choose to follow.”
Michal Cohen, General Director of the Rashi Foundation, added, “This partnership could change the future of thousands of young people. The current initiative creates significant opportunities for youth in the periphery by equipping them with the tools and skills to succeed in a technology-rich world. Our activity in Ofakim in particular, is connected to other initiatives that Rashi is leading in order to provide educational and social support to the city’s children and youth, who went through very difficult times.”
Hello Tech is part of a large-scale investment of Google totaling $25 million over several years, whose goal is to promote the inclusion of underrepresented populations in the Israeli high-tech industry. The new initiative is an extension of the Mind the Gap program, which has been operating in Israel since 2008 to encourage youth to choose tech majors in high school.
Google’s Hello Tech initiative was established in partnership with the Rashi Foundation, one of the leading private philanthropies in Israel that works to promote social-economic mobility and equal opportunity in Israel’s geo-social periphery. It is operated by the Cyber Education Center, which has more than ten years of experience developing technology education programs for youth, together with the Moona Association, which operates technology innovation centers in Arab society.