An Opportunity a Day Keeps Youth Unemployment at Bay

With more than 6.7 million young Americans out of school and unemployed, it’s safe to say that youth unemployment is no small matter. With so many eager and talented young workers ripe for the picking, it’s a waste to turn our backs on our nation’s youth when creating jobs and opportunities for them will bolster our economy.

In particular, small businesses are at a unique advantage in mentoring and training the young workers of today to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and small business owner Zach Davis is dedicated to doing just that.

Davis is the owner of The Penny Ice Creamery and Assembly restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA, and makes it his mission to provide entry-level jobs and training for youth.

“As an employer of a lot of young people (high school/high school grads, community college students, UC Santa Cruz students), I’m very aware and interested in the employment issues they face,” Davis said. “People occasionally express skepticism about the value of entry level service jobs, and I always make a point to mention to folks how important first jobs are in providing valuable experience and building a resume.”

Davis understands how stacked the hiring process and job market is when it comes to young workers. “Employers overwhelmingly look for people with experience, and especially when jobs are tight, people with no job experience on their resume get squeezed out.”

Studies have shown that there are tremendous consequences for young workers who struggle to secure their first jobs, having a dramatic effect on an individual’s lifetime earning potential. This is yet another reason why Davis is dedicated to providing opportunities to our nation’s youth.

“I’m very glad to be in a position of being able to offer people that first step, not to mention that I think we do a great job of training and then giving a lot of responsibility to our employees. This is something that I think is very true of small business; that small business owners often ask more of their employees because they may lack the structure and overhead that larger business have built.”

Davis sees the potential and benefits for small businesses to mentor and train young workers, which is why he signed Small Business Majority’s commitment to youth opportunity pledge, which urges other small business owners to commit to taking action to remedy the rampant problem of youth unemployment and help train the workers of tomorrow.

Because of the way small businesses operate, Davis believes that other small business owners can take action and provide similar opportunities to make a true dent in the youth unemployment issue.

To learn more about providing opportunities for unemployed youth or to pledge your support, visit

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