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Youth job fair draws crowd of eager teens, young adults

Nearly 30 employers came out to offer youth jobs in Santa Barbara Wednesday.

Steve Lazaro, 19, is ready to find a job. He came to the job fair wearing slacks, a button-down shirt and a tie.

“Usually I’ve noticed if I dress really nice, my chances are higher to get a job. That’s why I come prepared,” he said.

The youth job fair was put on by the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board, Youth Council and Employment Development Department for teens like Lazaro.

“Let employers, private-sector employers who have jobs to come and meet with young people who are looking for work this summer as well as for the fall when they go back to school,” said Raymond McDonald, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board.

Every employer has open positions and they’re looking to fill them fast.

“I’ve got quite a list already. I’ve got 10 good candidates that have walked by already and I see probably the greater majority of them getting an opportunity,” said Robert Hawbaker, of ResCare HomeCare.

Hundreds of young adults in Santa Barbara alone are looking for work. Across the country, the youth unemployment rate is 16 percent.

“I’ve got bills and I don’t like being broke,” said Lazaro.

The fair is a good opportunity to fix that.

For those teens who didn’t make it out to the fair, two more are in the works for September: one in Santa Maria and one in Lompoc.

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