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Ort Schools to Emphasize Computer Training in the 1980’s

January 22, 1982
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ORT (The Organization for Rehabilitation through Training) will significantly expand its computer training curriculum at ORT schools in Israel, France and Latin America in line with recent forecasts that computer-based industries will provide one of the few growth careers, with more jobs than people to fill those jobs, throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, according to a report by American ORT Federation president Sidney Leiwant, which will be presented at the organization’s national conference banquet, Saturday evening.

The banquet will commemorate 35 years of ORT-American Joint Distribution Committee partnership in service to the world Jewish community. During the three-day conference, which begins tomorrow, some 500 delegates from American Men’s ORT groups throughout the United States will discuss the new directions to be taken by ORT in the 1980’s in its global network of 800 schools and training centers which serve some 100,000 students.

According to the report by Leiwant, ORT will continue to train students in more traditional trades, such as carpentry and the needle trades, but many of these courses will be gradually phased out in favor of sophisticated training in fields such as avionics, digital electronics and laser technology, which are in increasing demand in the job market.

ORT Israel, which has a student body of 70,000 in 103 schools and training centers, recently acquired 100 micro computers, and plans to acquire more in the coming year, in line with the new ORT philosophy of insuring that every ORT student possesses a basic “computer literacy,” a qualification which has come to be recognized as a prerequisite for all technologically oriented professions.


In France, Leiwant’s report continues, where ORT maintains its second largest operation serving 8,300 students in eight schools throughout the country, the influx of thousands of Sephardic Jews from North Africa in recent years has swelled France’s Jewish population to some 700,000 making it the fourth largest in the world.

ORT France provides the children of these new immigrants intensive technical training geared to meeting specific industry needs and this thrust will continue to be a priority for ORT throughout the 1980’s.

In Latin America, computer education will also be upgraded with particular emphasis on the ORT Argentina computer center in Buenos Aires which is already being used by local companies, providing ORT students with invaluable on-the-job training while earning some much needed funds for maintaining local ORT operations, Leiwant’s report states.

In conjunction with modern technical education, ORT schools will continue to provide a strong curriculum in Jewish education, the report noted, “to insure that ORT graduates acquire not only the means of earning a living but an appreciation of Jewish culture and tradition which fosters a worthwhile quality of living as well.”

In the United States, ORT has upgraded its computer programming courses at the Bramson ORT Technical Institute in New York City and has initiated computer studies at the Jewish High School of South Florida in Miami.

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