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Many young adults feel lost after they are done with high school or out of school. They do not know what they are going to do with their lives, especially if a four-year college is not their first option. This was the case for Elias Zermeño, a 19-year-old Fruitvale resident. After finishing his GED class at The Unity Council and receiving his OUSD high school diploma, Elias did not know what he wanted to do next.

Through his connection with The Unity Council’s GED class, Elias was introduced to Alex Mora and Sharon Flores, the STEP program staff. STEP stands for Success, Training, Education and Planning, and offers services for youth and young adults, age 16 to 24, who want help with job search, career exploration, resume and cover letter writing, and other employment services.

 “We knew Elias was a great candidate for the program; he was not sure the steps to take to go to college and to get a job. The STEP program helped him find the resources he needed.” -Sharon Flores, Youth & Career Coach

Elias was enrolled in the STEP program for five months. He received help to create his resume and cover letter for the jobs and internships he was interested on as well as assistance enrolling in community college.

After a couple weeks of being enrolled in the STEP program, Elias got a paid internship as Administrative Assistant at a WIC store. Elias said what he liked the most about his internship is that it had flexible hours, which enabled him to go to Laney College. While interning at WIC, Elias learned how to strategically file information, use Microsoft Word, and gained customer service experience. Elias explained that customer service skills taught him how to have patience within a workplace.

Through the WIC internship, Elias determined that admin work was not what he was interested in, he wanted a more of a hands-on vocational career. Today, Elias plans to get his Associate’s degree in carpentry at Laney College. He is currently a full-time worker at a hardware store where he is able to learn about carpentry.

Elias feels that he definitely had growth within the STEP program because he was able to learn new skills and he also learned about the work he enjoys doing. Elias uses his new skills in his daily work life. He recommends this program to anyone who wants to gain new work experience, find a job and explore career opportunities.

“We want as many young adults to take advantage of the program and get hired for a career, not just a job”-Alex Mora, Youth Workforce Coordinator.

If you would like to become a STEP participant email Alex Mora at or call 510-535-1856