During the RECAP: State of Jobs event, we unveiled our 2016 State of Students Report with information collected from this year’s conference. We sampled 299 high school students about the perception of Sarasota and how it relates to colleges and careers on the Suncoast. 73.3% of students found that Sarasota is a positive place to live and work while only 6.7% of students absolutely desired to leave the region. Additional data provided insight on student’s desires to have more interactions with industry professionals including mentorship. An average of 66% of students interested in business and healthcare are interested in having a mentor while still in high school.

In addition, to understand career perception, we also examine perception about colleges and students desires to stay in the region. 33.6% of students are likely or very likely to consider attending college in Sarasota compared to 55.4% plan to attend college in Florida. We found that 33% of students were still undecided in regards to college decisions. In overwhelming amount of students listed finances as their largest concerns when attending college. This data directly correlates to the 71.2% of students that listed attending a 4-year university over community colleges or technical schools as their primary higher education goal.

Students walked away with a better understanding of college and careers, but also what was available locally in this region. Isabelle Crotsley, a student from Suncoast PolyTech High said, “I learned there are a lot of different job opportunities here in Sarasota and Manatee County I didn’t know before.” Our goal is to inspire students to pursue their passions but understand both the risk and rewards that come with their field of interest. Venice High School student, Cooper Owen said, “I learned a lot about my future and get to get where you’re headed in life.” Ashley Heed, student from Riverview High School’s takeaway was being better prepared to create a career out of her passion. “I learned how I could use my passion for music to create a career out of it.”

The State of Students Report is provided for community partners, educators, and businesses to work together on understanding student’s perception in the region. I believe the community, educators and business professionals alike, has a huge responsibility to prepare students for their futures. To read the full report, visit www.stateofstudents.org.

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