Meet Jake Guttman, an elite firefighter turned senior sales development representative for a growing Israeli high-tech company.
Guttman’s dramatic career pivot was enabled by SalesClass, an online masterclass initiated in collaboration with Nefesh B’Nefesh’s UpGrade program to help Olim integrate into the Israeli ecosystem and build rewarding careers. The UpGrade program offers multiple short-courses to help people pivot their careers into the Israeli marketplace.
The 13th cohort of Nefesh B'Nefesh's SalesClass will be offered in October. Guttman says SalesClass gave him the basics to tackle the world of sales and software as a service. I didn't know what to do when I decided to change my career. When I went for an interview, they were impressed that I could speak their language after learning the terminology from SalesClass.
Jake Levant is a partner at EndoTech, which is an artificial intelligence software company. Half my friends lost their jobs during the H1N1 epidemic. I was trying to hire people in other countries. I didn't think it was a good idea to hire people abroad when there were so many people who needed jobs here.
A person named Rachel Berger. The credit was given to Yossi Zwecker.
It wasn't easy. Many of the skills Levant was looking for were possessed by people who were not employed. They had the power but not the direction.
Levant approached Rachel Berger, VP of Employment at Nefesh B'Nefesh, and together they launched SalesClass, a six week online boot camp to teach people everything they need to know to be successful in sales. She was the perfect partner because of her knowledge of the hurdles they were facing when entering the Israeli job market.
The course teaches people how to make cold calls, how to get in touch with people on LinkedIn, and how to prove their value to people. There are lectures from professionals in the field as well as role playing on the course.
The course helped Guttman sell himself when he went to interview for his current job. He says it's important to have knowledge and confidence in sales. How you address people is all that matters. In April of that year, Guttman got a job in high-tech after participating in SalesClass. Guttman is back at SalesClass as an instructor to teach others.
SalesClass is a course in Nefesh B'Nefesh's upgrade program. In response to requests from Olim, the organization has launched a Content Marketing Class, a Digital Marketing Class, a Finance Class, and a fundraising Class. Nefesh B'Nefesh, who works in close cooperation with Israel's Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, has partnerships with affiliates that provide other courses.
It's important for Olim. You're not just here. We're interested in your trajectory here. People who want to give back are part of the community. The courses are taught by volunteers who want to pass on their knowledge and help other people find their place in Israeli society, according to Berger. Students who excel in their classes are hired by some volunteer instructors.
"Olim have a special talent, which is their mother tongue English language," says Berger who has spent the last 20 years helping them integrate into Israeli society. She knows how difficult it is for lone soldiers to translate their experience into the Israeli system. In order to succeed here, we need to give Olim opportunities to use their skills.
New courses are added to the UpGrade program based on requests from students and the industry. Students, farmers, carpenters, and tour guides are just some of the people who have benefited from their courses. Through the courses, students are given the chance to be reeducated and use their background to find better paying jobs in Israel. Berger says that at least 75% of their students are employed after graduating.
Sharona Benjamin is one of the happy graduates of UpGrade. Prior to coming to Israel, Benjamin had worked in human resources, but found herself bouncing around admin or customer service jobs that weren't in line with her skills. Benjamin was hired as a marketing and content writer for a health-tech company three months after he finished the Content Marketing Class.
Benjamin didn't believe it was possible to change his career. It was difficult for me to find any training opportunities. She immediately wanted to apply when she heard about the program. The course helped me feel confident to apply to my job, it made me realize that I could do it, and it was a big topic of conversation during my job interview.
The Up grade program has been very grassroots. Professionals come and ask for courses in certain fields. According to Berger, Nefesh B'Nefesh is looking to grow the program and systemize it with more courses and programs based on the needs of the Israeli community. The courses are created based on where the opportunities are. Demand is out of whack with the supply of professionals. You can learn if you can't do that vertical. We can help you find a rewarding job.
Visit www.nbn.org.il for more information.