Roim Rachok (Looking Ahead) is an innovative program designed to train adults on the autism spectrum in professions required by the Israel Defense Forces and the civilian market. Qualified young adults, who want to volunteer for service in the IDF or integrate into the job market, are taught professions for which they have a comparative advantage.
The first three months of the program is held in a civilian framework in Ono Academic College where participants learn a profession and essential work skills. During the next 3-4 months, they are provisionally assigned to an IDF unit where they work as civilians, to gain experience before being drafted as volunteers.
After the trial period, participants can join the IDF as volunteers (subject to IDF approval). During their service, they contribute their special skills to the IDF while accruing professional experience. After discharge, they can continue working in the same field, or develop in other, related or unrelated, scientific and academic directions.
The program began in 2013 and it is operated in cooperation of Beyond the Horizon (Charitable Company) and Ono Academic College. The first training course was for deciphering aerial and satellite photography. It is based on the idea that people on the autistic spectrum are very visually-oriented, and many of them are patient and have the ability to focus on details that this work requires.
The program has since been expanded to train participants in other professions needed in the IDF and civilian job market such as software quality assurance (QA), information sorting, and electro-optics technicians.
Roim Rachok highlights the personal and collective significance of belonging for people on the autism spectrum.
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