Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Emphasis on Entering a Daunting Job Market

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Emphasis on Entering a Daunting Job Market

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

Riverview High School senior Camden Harding knows he'll be facing a grim job market when he finishes school.

So the 17-year-old sought to get a leg up on his competition at the final day of the "State of Jobs" conference, held Friday at the Sarasota County Technical Institute.

Harding left SCTI with a few free pens, a tote-bag containing some empty candy wrappers and an important lesson on global economics.

"I'm a little worried about it," Harding said of the employment outlook. "Even a college degree these days isn't a big deal. It's not about just being smart anymore."

Harding is among a growing demographic of younger Americans entering a job market that's generally tougher than any their parents had -- particularly in Southwest Florida.

To combat that, he and a few dozen others strolled through a series of booths at the job fair, greeting representatives from window and door maker PGT Inc., deli supplier Boar's Head, the University of South Florida and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, among others.

They also heard a global perspective from keynote speaker David Kotok, who manages financial portfolios valued at several billion dollars' from an office in Sarasota. The Cumberland Advisors' founder told the young professionals assembled that competition for jobs is intensifying around the world -- especially among Millennials, a generation born between 1980 and 1995.

"The decision Millennials have to make in the U.S. is how do you gain an advantage over the competitor in Singapore," Kotok said. "Because if you're in a global market, you're head-to-head with those people. I suggest you retire at once. It would be much easier."

Though the unemployment rate is gradually improving across the country and in Southwest Florida -- where it stood around 6 percent in March -- discouraged job seekers, part-time laborers looking for full-time work and the chronically unemployed push that figure to nearly 25 percent by some estimates, Kotok said. …

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