To develop low-wage earners’ skills and increasing their productivity through mechanisms for lifelong learning.

The Need:

The rise in demand for highly skilled workers and the decline in demand for unskilled labor has led to international recognition of the need to develop lifelong learning mechanisms and to continually update skills (upskilling). The PIAAC international model that assesses work proficiency points to the low level of skills of the population in Israel: in reading literacy, Israel ranks 28th out of 34 countries; in mathematical literacy, 29th; and in problem-solving in a computerized environment, 24th place out of 29. Over the last 20 years, there has been a growing gap in labor productivity between Israel and the United States (55%), and between Israel and certain countries in Europe (70%). The most recent PIAAC survey found a correlation between work proficiency scores and hourly wages, and that low skills contribute to low productivity.

Target Audience:

Low-wage workers over the age of 25


The program will test the effectiveness of two models for upgrading employee skills:

Employers Model: Providing assistance to employers by financing the upskilling of employees through vouchers for courses in relevant professional fields. Employers will choose courses according to business needs. Courses range from 40 to 200 hours and are offered by recognized educational institutions. An innovative component of Skill Up is the addition of soft-skills training, either through the courses themselves or separately for groups of employees from companies located near one another.

The vouchers are earmarked for small and medium-sized companies (up to 500 employees) and low-wage workers (those who earn below the median wage) who have been with their employer for at least six months. To receive vouchers through Skill Up, employers must commit to raising participating employees’ salaries at the end of training by at least 6%.