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Focus on Manatee: Choosing a career can be difficult. Enter the State of Jobs Conference

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CareerSource Suncoast offers tips on how to interview for a job.
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CareerSource Suncoast offers tips on how to interview for a job.

Every educator knows the challenge of capturing a student’s attention and inspiring them to make change.

When it comes to college and career readiness, students are bombarded with information on a regular basis from family, friends and teachers.

To get a student to focus on college and career for one day can feel like an uphill battle.

Enter the State of Jobs Conference.

On Oct. 30, CareerSource Suncoast will host its fifth annual State of Jobs Conference at Robarts Arena in Sarasota, bringing together nearly 1,200 high school students from Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Hardee counties.

With more than 100 business leaders speaking at the event, our goal is to provide students with an inside look from real experts in the industries they’re most interested in.

Upon entering the conference, students will have an opportunity to interact with more than 40 businesses and colleges from our community to learn more about the opportunities that exist in our region.

As part of the conference, we want students to have a unique experience, and on the main stage, our friend Steve Shenbaum from game on Nation kicks things off as the leadership keynote.

Ted Ehrlichman.jpg
Ted Ehrlichman is the president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast.

Students select from one of six industry focuses including health care, engineering/manufacturing, hospitality/tourism, business, information technology or arts/design.

Leaders from the community in their respective industries lead the track sessions providing students with an opportunity to learn and ask questions to better prepare them for their future.

We close the day by partnering with BIG’s (Bright Ideas on the Gulfcoast) Mind the Gap event, where we’re expecting nearly 300 college students to interact with business executives from our community through executive round tables, resume development and mock interviewing.

The goal for Mind the Gap at the State of Jobs Conference is to provide an opportunity for business leaders to encourage our graduates to consider a career here in our region. Many of these students get hired as part of their participation in the event.

With historic lows in unemployment, building the talent pipeline is essential to the long-term success of this community’s workforce. The State of Jobs Conference and Mind the Gap at the State of Jobs Conference is inspiring the next generation workforce.

For more information about the State of Jobs Conference, visit

Ted Ehrlichman, president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast, writes about workforce issues across the region.