The Cadets for Municipal Service Program at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Tel Hai College in the North, trains a cadre of dynamic new municipal leaders for Israel’s periphery. The first program of its kind in Israel, Cadets was launched in 2011/2012 with 30 students. Each student receives a three-year scholarship to study toward their BA in diverse fields such as economics, law, accounting, education, psychology, sociology and political science, a laptop computer, living stipend and academic guidance.
Parallel to their regular studies, the students participate in a tailored academic course on public policy and local government. They also engage in empowerment training workshops that focus on leadership, social responsibility, personal and collective identity and networking.
During the program, students are placed in professional internships in local municipalities and gain invaluable practical experience. Upon graduation, Atidim works with each individual to secure placement in upwardly mobile positions in local municipalities in the periphery. Cadet graduates commit to serving in local public service for a minimum of three years.
The Cadets are carefully screened and chosen. Preference is given to natural leaders from the periphery, from diverse populations, who understand first-hand the problems of the municipalities and have the talent, energy and desire to raise the level of local government and bring about real change. Hundreds of students apply each year for the 26 places.
Today there are 7 Cadet classes with a total of 169 students, including two unique classes – a Cadets for Municipal Service Master’s Degree program at Haifa University and a Cadets for Urban Planning Master’s program at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Together there are 110 graduates.
The program is implemented in cooperation with the Union of Local Authorities, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance.