In Search of Young Talent



At USF Sarasota Manatee the auditorium filled with business owners and employers, guest speakers prepared to walk on stage and the infectious sound of mingling took on a dim hum as people found their seats for the State of Talent Conference last Friday. Organized by CareerSource Suncoast, the goal was to teach employers how to recruit, retain and train new young talent. Seven speakers brought their own perspectives and areas of expertise to the daylong conference, presenting qualitative and quantitative analysis to help employers better understand millennials in the work force.

The first speaker Adrienne Johnston, bureau chief of labor market statistics for the Department of Economic Opportunity, spoke about employment statistics. She showed graphs and data that broke down Florida’s economic climate within the private sector and explained how this data indicates job growth. The next speaker, Dr. Robert Shindell, president and CEO of Intern Bridge, brought forth a holistic perspective. He talked about mentoring interns and new hires with the help of developing skill sets, such as: being respectful, updating technology, talking face-to-face, authenticity and giving feedback. Other speakers included Dr. Rick Goodman’s presentation on transformational leadership, an age-friendly workplace panel, Steve Shenbaum from GameOn Nation speaking on harnessing the power of behavioral gamification, FCCI Insurance’s Kristi Hoskinson talking about shifting wellbeing into the discipline of professional development and a panel on the best practices in human resources.

According to Chris Laney, director of education and community investment at CareerSource Suncoast, breadth is key for this kind of conference. “We wanted to bring in area experts who could share their own experiences in this conference,” he says. In addition to finding speakers, accessibility played a major role in the SOTC. “Anytime you provide individuals with practical information,” says Laney, “they find it a success.”

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