Media Release: Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast (BIG), The Gulf Coast CEO Forum (GCCF) and CareerSource Suncoast Collaborate to Bring Regional Focus on the Future of Workforce

Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast (BIG), The Gulf Coast CEO Forum and CareerSource Suncoast will bring together the area’s two most prominent student events focused on workforce exploration and development by combining the State of Jobs Conference and Mind the Gap. 

CareerSource Suncoast, BIG, and the Gulf Coast CEO Forum are proud to announce their partnership to combine the State of Jobs Conference and Mind the Gap with the purpose of focusing on tomorrow’s workforce through these two unique student events. The 2018 State of Jobs Conference will welcome nearly 1,200 high school students for an all-day conference focused on college and career exploration with a focus on high-demand industries within our region. “As the State of Jobs Conference enters its 5th year since inception, we’re finally starting to realize the legacy of this event. The number of stories shared with us from students on how this conference changed their perception and molded their college/career decisions is beyond exciting. The first time I attended a Mind the Gap event and witnessed the hundreds of college students engaged with the speakers, I knew it was something special and we’re thrilled to bring these two events together for one regionally focused experience for high school and college students,” says Chris Laney, Director of Education & Community Investment for CareerSource Suncoast

Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast is an initiative of The Gulf Coast CEO Forum, an organization made up of the area’s top CEOs and leaders. BIG understands the demand for high-quality talent, which led to the creation of the first Mind the Gap event in 2016. Mind the Gap has provided a forum for college students to directly connect and communicate with business leaders in our community about the potential of having a career on the Suncoast“The growth of Mind The Gap in just two years is a testament to students and business leaders’ desire to make meaningful connections that lead to employment. We know that the first step to improving the perceived hiring gap in our region is twofold: reminding students of the incredible opportunities here and actively showcasing all that the Gulf Coast has to offer. Mind The Gap is our way of doing just that. Additionally, bringing CEOs to the conversation is a powerful way to introduce local companies to an immensely talented student population right here,” says BIG Executive Director Kim Miele. “We are thrilled to work with CareerSource Suncoast to extend the reach and impact of Mind The Gap this year.”

On October 30th, high school students will experience the conference during the day while Mind the Gap will be in the evening for college students. Details on how you can be part of these incredible events will be announced this summer. Taking a collective impact approach, the State of Jobs Conference and Mind the Gap is in partnership with the Sarasota County School District, Manatee County School District, Cross College Alliance, higher education institutions, community organizations, and businesses throughout our community with nearly 100 speakers expected to participate this year.


About CareerSource Suncoast 

CareerSource Suncoast is a non-profit dedicated to providing education and tools to connect employers with skilled talent. Our mission is to recruit, train and retain talent for employers on the Suncoast. An equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers on this document may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711.


About the Gulf Coast CEO Forum and Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast

Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast (BIG) is a non-profit initiative under the direction of the Gulf Coast CEO Forum. Designed to connect college students to local companies through engagement and events, BIG reflects the Gulf Coast CEO Forum’s mission to provide relationships, ideas and solutions to leaders along Florida’s Southwest Coast. BIG and its team of volunteers participate in classroom directives, provide active mentorship and produce events that showcase the wide range of opportunities in the region. For more information about BIG and the Gulf Coast CEO Forum, contact Kim Miele at

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