May 26, 2009 / 3 Sivan 5769

(Jerusalem, Israel) – Fourteen career center directors from leading universities across the United States and Canada arrived today in Israel for a week-long trip exploring post-college career development opportunities in Israel.  The trip participants include the president of the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), Manny Contomanolis.
The trip, sponsored by MASA Israel journey, is designed to familiarize university career advisors with the myriad internship, volunteer and study options Israel has to offer their graduating seniors and alumni. MASA Israel Journey was established as a joint project by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel to encourage Jewish young adults to spend a semester to a year in Israel on more than 160 approved programs.

A report recently released by NACE indicates that 66 percent of surveyed employers lowered or eliminated hiring this spring.   As such, an increasing number of graduating seniors and young professionals are seeking internships or volunteer experiences abroad – and Israel is a popular destination.

Wayne Wallace, director of the University of Florida’s Career Resource Center and a trip participant, has encouraged his students and alumni to stay flexible, be prepared, and well informed amidst the current economic downturn. “Be willing to engage the challenge,” says Wallace. “There are jobs out there, but in this over-saturated market, getting related experience in the form of an internship or volunteer placement differentiates recent graduates from their competitors. Internships and volunteer experiences are valuable for both employer and candidate: they provide a purposeful and useful way to invest one’s time, and reflect a willingness to assume responsibility for one’s own future.”

For this reason, university career center directors like Wallace and Contomanolis have come to Israel to learn about the many experiences available to their students after graduation. The trip will visit programs including Eco-Israel, an organic farming program; the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Career Israel, a five-month professional internship program, and Tikkun Olam Tel-Aviv, a program that focuses on community service and coexistence.

"The purpose of the trip is to present the wide variety of internship, volunteer and graduate academic options available in Israel so that the career center directors go back to their universities and recommend these programs to interested students for years to come," said Avi Rubel, director of MASA North America.  “Post-college is our fastest growing sector and we are trying to meet the needs of a large wave of 20-somethings looking for a long-term experience that will set them apart and allow them to make a difference in a country they can uniquely call their own.”

To encourage students to volunteer, intern and study in Israel, MASA provides universal grants and needs-based scholarships of up to $7,500 per person.

Career Center Directors (Participants)

Name University
Wayne Wallace University of Florida
Burt Nadler University of Rochester
Marcia Harris UNC - Chapel Hill
Jack Rayman Penn State University
Mark Smith Washington University of St. Louis
Joe Dupont Brandeis University
Jean Papalia Tufts University
Leslie Lumsden University of Western Ontario
Dick Leger Boston University
Trudy Steinfeld New York University
Marva Jennings George Washington University
Richard White Rutgers University
Susan Braun Drexel University
Manny Contamonlis Rochester Institute of Technology/Director of NACE

**All participants are available for interviews upon request. For more information, contact Ayelet Margolin at (732) 754-6553.**

MASA Israel Journey is a project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and is made possible through the generous support of the United Jewish Communities, the Federations of North America, and Keren Hayesod-UIA.

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780 




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