The Great Resignation: Young adults quitting low-paying jobs for better career, future

SAN FRANCISCO -- The extra time at home during the pandemic is inspiring many to reevaluate where they are in life.

The analytics firm Visier found at least one in four workers quit their jobs this year. A record 4.4 million resigned in September alone.

Parker Denos of San Mateo has had a lot of down time at home during the pandemic.

"I think the pandemic was really just kind of the perfect opportunity for me to branch out and explore different opportunities," Denos said.

Taj Exumi also had a lot of time to think.

RELATED: Bay Area company is connecting capable candidates to tech jobs by focusing on equitable hiring

"It was long overdue for a change. I was always planning to move into tech anyways," he said.

Exumi left his job in retail to follow his dream and move his family from North Carolina to California.

Denos gave up work pouring drinks at a brewery.

Both ended up enrolling in NPower, a program targeting underrepresented youth and veterans.

"You know, we were in search of better jobs and a better life," said Exumi.

RELATED: Looking for a career change? Here's the field paying 10% more than pre-pandemic

"Everyone's looking for a better opportunity and definitely want to climb away from something so demanding as customer service," Denos said.

Christopher Starling is Executive Director of NPower California. He's seen a surge of interest in his program, especially from young people during the pandemic.

"Our young adult increase was about 62% higher than it was previously. Our veteran demand remains about the same," Starling said.

He says most enrollees came from low wage jobs.

"And they see that's not a long term option for them. So they had an opportunity to do something different," he said.

RELATED: Silicon Valley startup training non-techies for tech jobs

The five-month program is totally free for low-income youth ages 18-25 and for veterans.

For Denos and Exumi, the program has been life changing.

Exumi is now working for Google at its Everyday Robot project.

Denos works on the help desk for a cybersecurity firm.

RELATED: Caterer to software developer: Pandemic pressuring some to change careers

"Aside from just the paycheck, it's great to have like better health benefits, dental, vision, things of that nature," Denos said.

"The best part for me was the support. Having the support there, helping me facilitate learning -- making sure I progress," said Exumi.

NPower also provides financial assistance for basic needs such as rent. It's a national program with local offices in both San Francisco and San Jose.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE! 7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.