NEW YORK (Jan. 23)
Construction is about to begin in Jerusalem on a new technical college designed to provide technicians and engineers for Israel’s economy, it was reported here by Dr. William Haber, president of the American ORT Federation. The new college will be erected by ORT on the campus of the Hebrew University. The announcement was made last night at a dinner here celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American ORT Federation.
Calling the new technical college “an educational breakthrough of great potential impact,” Dr. Haber told some 1,000 delegates attending the dinner that the college “aims to fill a gap, not only in Israel’s educational system but in the economy of the country.” Continuing, he said, “The fact is that a lack of middle-level manpower, particularly technician-engineers, is substantially hobbling both Israel’s current productivity and its rate of economic growth. Israeli leaders have consistently told us that overcoming the shortage of skilled manpower is crucial to Israel’s economic development.”
Dr. Haber, who is a former dean of the University of Michigan, reported “that eventually some 1,300 students will be studying electronic, chemical, mechanical and nuclear engineering, and receive industrial training at the ORT Technical College.”
Referring to the founding of the American ORT Federation in 1922, Dr. Haber said that “the very name–ORT Technical College–indicates how far ORT has advanced from the traditional trade courses which were the sum total of its curriculum 50 years ago. From the very beginning, our perspective has been to prepare young people for work in newly-developing fields,” and to keep them abreast of modern industry and modern technology. The ORT Technical College at the Hebrew University is the “embodiment, therefore, of ORT’s philosophy,” Dr. Haber declared. “We are not concerned only with yesterday’s trades, but much more with tomorrow’s careers.”
NIXON LAUDS ORT PROGRAM
Dr. Haber noted that more than 42,500 of ORT’s students are in Israel. The largest proportion is enrolled in three-four-or five year high schools. ORT expenditures in Israel alone during 1971, he noted, totalled $13 million. “The truth is,” Dr. Haber declared, “that ORT’s training of skilled manpower for Israel began in many cases before the students had ever seen Israel, and in some cases before there even was an Israel.” Immediately after World War II ended, at the insistence of Jewish survivors of the Nazi era, ORT classes and courses were established right in the displaced persons camps. “I saw these programs spread to every DP camp in Europe,” he recalled.
Dr. Haber was adviser on Jewish affairs to Gen. Lucius Clay in the American zone of Germany. “As a result of this training,” the ORT leader commented, “many of those former DP’s took with them valuable skills when they later emigrated to Israel, as well as to the United States and other countries.” Greetings for the ORT 50th anniversary celebration were received from President Nixon, Israeli Premier Golda Meir and former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
Nixon’s message declared that “More than one million refugees and disadvantaged persons have found hope in the programs of the organization for rehabilitation through training (ORT), as well as the means to a new life. By teaching deprived individuals the skills required for earning their livelihood and participating productively in the programs of their communities, you have helped reduce poverty and raised living standards throughout the world.” Dinner guests heard an address by Yitzhak Rabin, Israel Ambassador to the US. Louis B. Hollander, secretary-treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO and a vice-president of the American ORT Federation, was honored as one of the organization’s founders.