The Jews of Color (JOC) Career Development Program announced its first cohort members today – on Indigenous People’s Day – who will work in Jewish ventures and institutions across the country, developing their skills as entrepreneurial leaders working toward system-level change in the Jewish community. A partnership between UpStart and the Jews of Color Initiative (JoCI), the six-week part-time paid program will nurture the growth of emerging JOC leaders, increase access to talent, and deepen investment within the Jewish innovation ecosystem to develop a thriving and representative Jewish organizational landscape. Meet the eight participants and participating organizations.
“Leadership of Jewish community organizations today simply does not reflect the diversity of the Jewish community itself,” says Angel Alvarez-Mapp, Director of Program and Operations at the Jews of Color Initiative. “To change this, we need to support people and nurture their professional growth at the earliest stages of their careers. We are excited to work with UpStart to pursue this vision.” The cohort-based program enables Jews of Color aged 18-25 to create new connections regardless of prior affiliation and to develop skills at the intersection of their multiracial and multiethnic identities. Participants engage in 10 hours per week of project-focused work based on their interest, career aspirations, and skills. The participants’ placements were sourced according to their interests and skills and matched accordingly from the large network of UpStart’s ventures and partners – all to create a pipeline of diverse and representative leadership necessary for a sustainable Jewish future.
“Our vision of Jewish communities as thriving hubs of innovation relies on bold leadership on a systemic level – and we see that leadership falling short of empowering the full diversity of our communities,” says Danielle Natelson, Design Strategist at UpStart. “We have the responsibility to ensure greater and more equitable representation, and we’re honored to collaborate with the Jews of Color Initiative to take swift action and commit to this work.”
The program’s leadership development sessions will bring the cohort together virtually for learning about entrepreneurship, the Jewish innovation ecosystem, and personal growth as a Jew of Color, leveraging Jewish wisdom to enhance their educational experiences. Participants also will be mentored by a Jew of Color and will tap into a support system as they explore the intersection of JOC identity and experience in the Jewish community.
All participants are self-identified Jews of Color or people who are exploring the intersection of their identities as a Jew and a Person of Color.