Tech initiative to transform Negev economy, create hundreds of jobs


Place-IL, a nonprofit tech initiative committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in the local hi-tech industry, is set to launch a program to create hundreds of jobs in the Western Negev region over the next three to four years.

The initiative has garnered substantial support from major tech companies, including Nvidia, Palo Alto Networks, Armis, Cisco, SalesForce, Hibob, Bizzabo, SciPlay, Axonius Cadence, and Imperva.

Place-IL chairman Idan Tendler, who also serves as senior vice president at Palo Alto Networks, underscored the program’s importance in rehabilitating and fortifying the Western Negev communities impacted by conflict. “Alongside proper security conditions, creating jobs, especially in hi-tech, is an important pillar that will foster resilience and growth for the Western Negev,” he said.

Established in March 2022, Place-IL has been at the forefront of promoting diversity in the hi-tech sector. Collaborating with leading tech companies, such as Google, Insight Partners, and IATI, the organization developed a technological platform for innovative screening processes, providing opportunities for candidates from underrepresented populations.

Effort to rejuvenate communities in Gaza envelope

As part of a broader national effort to rejuvenate communities in the Gaza border communities, Place-IL has devised a program dedicated to hiring individuals from the Western Negev or those who were evacuated. This initiative is tailored for positions in development, data, and support roles, and it is carried out in collaboration with Western Negev local authorities, regional councils, municipalities, and the government.

Place-IL Chairman Idan Tendler (credit: GUY YECHIELY)

o finance this ambitious undertaking, Place-IL has established the “National Fund for High Tech in the Negev,” aiming to raise millions of shekels from tech companies and the government. The funds will be channeled into processes aimed at integrating Western Negev residents into the tech industry, providing a much-needed economic boost to the region.

According to a recent survey conducted by Place-IL, more than 3,000 graduates with relevant degrees reside in the Western Negev and have entered the job market in the past three years. These individuals are prime candidates for integration into the core professions and growth of the tech industry.

“Place-IL makes Israeli Hi-Tech accessible to its untapped potential in terms of workforce,” noted CEO Keren Halpern-Musseri. “Many candidates, including Western Negev residents, only need one first chance into the industry, which we offer them, to prove themselves and integrate into quality jobs.”

She emphasized the organization’s goal of creating a critical mass of 400 new tech jobs within three years, initially focusing on core professions and gradually expanding to support and customer success roles, as demand increases.

The strategic plan includes the establishment of organic development or support teams in the South, contributing to the broader initiative to declare the Western Negev a national priority area.

Place-IL’s technology-based identification, screening, and placement system involves a robust volunteer network, including entrepreneurs, CEOs, CTOs, heads of development teams, headhunters, and human resources personnel. The organization collaborates with more than 50 leading tech companies to identify specific job needs, ensuring a seamless integration of local talent.

The screening process is followed by a six-month paid internship program, providing candidates with valuable experience for successful industry integration. Place-IL will establish two locally designated workplaces to accommodate the influx of new tech workers, facilitating hybrid work arrangements for employees.

Prominent tech leaders – including Amit Krig, senior vice president of software engineering and Nvidia Israel R&D site leader, and Cisco Israel CEO Oren Sagi – have expressed their support for Place-IL’s initiative.

“Our partnership with Place-IL has already proven itself, [as] we have won excellent talents who have already integrated into the company,” said Sagi. “We would not have reached them without the recruitment model offered by Place-IL.”

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