CareerSource Suncoast recently surveyed more than 800 high schoolers at its 6th annual State of Jobs Conferences to find out student perceptions on a variety of issues, including the availability of jobs with living wages and the extent to which planning for life after high school creates anxiety.

On January 28, Kathy McDonald, FCAN’s Assistant Director for Network Partnerships, hosted a webinar with guest presenter Chris Laney, Workforce Education Director for CareerSource Suncoast, who shared findings from his organization’s latest State of Students Report.

What is the State of Students Report?

The State of Jobs Conference, which is held in two locations representing seven Florida counties, exposes high schoolers to careers they may have never considered. During their time at the conference, students are asked to share their perspective on college and career opportunities in their respective communities. Their responses are compiled into the annual State of Students Report.

Laney shared results from the most recent report in five key areas: post-high school plans, thinking career, social & emotional learning, influence, and Florida talent attraction. The survey revealed that 76% of students are feeling overwhelmed and anxious at least some of the time about the process of planning for their future, and some of this could be driven by a lack of knowledge about how to plan and pay for their education beyond high school.

Highlights from the State of Students Report

The report revealed plenty of causes for optimism. Among the survey findings:

  • Students are actually thinking about their future before high school, with 42% starting their planning in middle school and 9% as early as elementary school.
  • Nearly 50% are confident about achieving their plans after high school.
  • With support like the State of Jobs Conference that offers career exploration with employers, student confidence goes up 9 percentage points (pre-conference 48% to post conference 57%), indicating students are finding these types of community support helpful.

Need for more guidance and support

The report also revealed some areas where students could use more guidance and support. Among those findings:

  • Two of the leading reasons students said they were not filling out the FAFSA was “I don’t know what the FAFSA is” (35%) and “overwhelmed by the whole experience of preparing for college” (27%).
  • Students are still unclear about how to pay for college, with 57% planning on scholarships to do so, and only a small percentage planning on loans (2%) and grants (2%).
  • 80% of students think they will only have 1-3 jobs as an adult, which could add to the sense of anxiety around selecting a career path.

Show Notes

To learn more about students’ perception on college and career — or to view the webinar and download the presentation — take advantage of these resources:

2020 State of Students Report
Plan It Florida resources
“Aligned for Talent” podcast (with Chris Laney)

Be sure to visit our Past Webinars page for access to recordings and downloadable material from FCAN’s previous presentations.

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