L.A. small business owner puts our Work 4 Small Biz pledge into action!

Around the country, small business owners are struggling to find qualified employees. In fact, some 40% of American employers cite lack of skills as the No. 1 reason for entry-level job vacancies, especially among young job candidates. Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate in our country remains considerably high after the aftermath of the Great Recession. Though some small businesses may want to help address this problem while identifying potential talent, they often don’t have the resources to sponsor an internship or mentoring program. That’s why we’ve launched a new campaign in California to help connect small business owners with young people who are ready and willing to learn.

Although the problem of youth unemployment and lack of qualified workers is a nationwide epidemic, it is especially prevalent in the Golden State, which has the highest unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds in the nation at 20.2%.

To help address this, our Work 4 Small Biz pledge outlines simple steps employers can take to provide work-based learning opportunities to help California youth prepare for the future, such as participating in a career fair, creating job shadowing opportunities and offering company tours. And while these may seem like small steps, we know these little to no-cost experiences can have a major impact on our future workforce. 

Through the campaign, we support and educate California entrepreneurs who want to help tackle this issue by getting involved with local high school students. One business owner who has put the pledge into action is Kenneth Salas, who co-owns Camino Financial with his brother, Sean, in Los Angeles.

Entrepreneurship runs strong in the family for the Salas brothers, as their mother operated a chain of Mexican restaurants. Inspired by their mother, Kenny and Sean developed an alternative online lending platform focused on providing capital to Hispanic small businesses.

After signing the pledge in February, Kenny committed to short-term engagement opportunities due to his busy schedule. But a few months after joining the pledge, Kenny presented at the at the Personal Finance Challenge event in downtown Los Angeles, where he spoke to local high school students about social connections and how to start a small business. His passion for financial education and the financial industry resonated with many of the students, as many of them were interested in finance and economics. In fact, when providing feedback on the event, many of the students said that their biggest takeaway from the day was listening to Kenny’s story.

Inspired by their responses, Kenny has adhered to the Work 4 Small Biz pledge by offering tours of his business and hiring a summer intern. Kenny is a clear example that even very busy small business owners have the capacity to provide simple learning opportunities that can translate to longer, meaningful experiences for young people.

Join the pledge today!

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