The Palestinian Internship Program (PIP) provides young Palestinian professionals with work experience placements at leading Israel-based companies, especially in the fields of tech and finance.
Founded by Yadin Kaufmann in 2014, PIP has so far completed five cycles of internships comprising 39 interns and 25 companies including leading multinationals such as Intel, Thomson Reuters, HP Indigo and Teva, as well as a number of start-ups and venture capital firms.
PIP is a US-registered non-profit, backed by the US State Department’s Middle East Partnerships Initiatives program and other funders, including individual supporters from all over the world. In the past, PIP has also received significant contributions from USAID.
PIP’s interns come from an educated and technically talented Palestinian workforce: Palestine has among the highest literacy rates in the region and over a dozen universities, from which in IT alone around 1,500 students graduate each year.
However, due to a lack of opportunities, more than half of Palestinian graduates are either unemployed or settle for low-skilled positions outside their field of expertise. Moreover, many of the country’s most talented graduates are joining a ‘brain drain’, taking up opportunities in the Gulf states, the US, Europe and elsewhere.
The Palestinian Internship Program was established to help reverse these trends by providing young Palestinian professionals with high-level employment opportunities at multinational, Israeli and Palestinian companies. Specifically, PIP internships provide participants with skills focused on six areas that are key to building up a knowledge-based Palestinian economy:
PIP has already had significant successes: three-quarters of interns were either unemployed or not in full-time work when applying to PIP, while over two-thirds had no professional experience in their fields.
Post-internship, three-quarters went on to work in their field fields at successful companies. Others have entered post-grad education in the US and UK, or started their own businesses. While interning at PIP's host companies has already changed these young professionals' lives, in time, the Palestinian economy as a whole will also increasingly reap the benefits of their professional development.
Beyond matching interns and host companies and the important work of arranging permits, accommodation and other logistics, a highly successful aspect of the 'PIP experience' is its supplementary workshops, company tours and networking events. These provide interns with new skills and business awareness, generate mutual support and group spirit, and prepare participants for entering the job market following their internship.
On the back of these successes, PIP is now looking to expand its outreach among prospective interns and host companies and to increase its positive impact on both the Palestinian and Israeli high-tech and financial sectors.
Interested in finding out more? Please get in touch with us or click here to find out how you can support the program.