SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Zarek Lazowski is an employee at Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab in Old Town Orcutt.
He says as a teenager, it's hard to get employers to hire him, telling us: "I had actually applied to every ice cream place that I could find in Santa Maria and Doc Burnstein's was the only place that contacted me back about applying for a job."
Lazowski says he wanted to work at an ice cream store because he likes to make people happy. Founder of Doc Burstein's Greg Steinberger believes it's important to give teens their first chance
"We see it as a responsibility and obligation to help them have a very positive experience in their first job.. But being their first job, a lot of times they're just getting used to the idea of showing up on time and the types of things we take for granted with adult employees," Steinberger explains.
Many teens and young adults like Zerich have trouble getting started in the local workforce, that's where the Career Pathways for Youth Initiative Program comes in.
"We don't intend for them to become experts in how to look for employment but we want to give them enough tools for them to be able to be successful for their first job and put them in a position where they're gonna keep on moving forward and be able to get the job that they're really looking for," says Program Manager, Luis Servin.
The program put on by the Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board and Goodwill begins with the basics.
"I didn't know you needed a resume so they taught me how to make a resume and how I need to dress properly," says teenage participant Daniel Chacon.
And then helps teens find their true passion. "I'm planning to become a computer hardware engineer and I have an interview this Thursday with Rancho Bowl with the mechanics," says teenage participant Abdi Rodriguez.
"One of the most positive things that I have seen throughout this program is them recognizing what it takes to apply for a job, to move forward," explains Youth Services Program Manager for Goodwill, Samantha Limon.
On Wednesday, these groups are hosting a youth and leadership summit for people age 16-24 and their parents.
Click here for information on how to sign up for the event.