By Ilan Wagner
Onward Israel participants spend six to ten weeks immersed in hands-on professional internships and real-life engagement with Israel. Most return to their University campuses connected, committed and inspired to lead.
But can this experience be sustained, especially when these young people graduate and begin to chart their personal and professional paths? In a seminal three-year longitudinal study carried out by Rosov Consulting among Onward alumni from summer 2014, the answer is a resounding yes.
Onward Israel’s impact goes beyond the immediate. At the critical juncture from college to the “real-world,” when Jewish and Israel engagement tend to wane, key findings from the study, Cohort III Alumni: Where Are They Now? A Deep Dive into Onward Israel’s Contribution to Alumni’s Personal and Professional Trajectories, show that three years on:
- 73% increased or maintained their involvement in Jewish and Israel-related activities
- 68% felt a strong connection to their Jewish identity (compared to 53% two weeks pre-program)
- 59% felt knowledgeable about Jewish peoplehood (compared to 30% pre-program)
- 55% retained an emotional connection to Israel (compared to 45% pre-program)
- 48% felt their professional choices were tied to their Onward internship (majority in finance, engineering and high tech)
- 46% felt a high level of knowledge about Israeli life (compared to 14% pre-program)
The complete report is available here.
Ilan Wagner is CEO of Onward Israel.