Millennials are so yesterday.
Generation Z, those born between 1996 and 2010, now comprise nearly 6 percent of the workplace according to Pew Research. So what does that mean for local businesses and workforce?
According to a Gallup study, 40 percent of students in grades 5-12 plan to start their own business and 24 percent are actually learning how to do so through classes for future business leaders and other organizations such as FCCLA: Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. Gen Z has a tremendous entrepreneurial passion and we would bode well in our schools and community to support that. Will all those students open their own business? Likely not but what if they took those skills into existing workplaces? Many reports suggest that these students want to have an entrepreneurial spirit in the safety of an existing workplace. Assigning those young people with high stakes deliverables where they are challenged to develop a vision and strategy for success is a win-win scenario in an age of technology, innovation, and global competition.
Many universities have begun to embrace customizable degrees. At Indiana University-Bloomington Individualized Major Program, students design their own 30-42 hours of curriculum culminating in a final project or thesis. Tailor made degrees are becoming more popular as regional needs drive workforce training and student interests. This provides for a higher level of engagement for the learner and a niche value-add for the employer. The partnership opportunities for post-secondary education and training centers with business and industry is limited only by imagination.
According to Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey, where 1,844 Gen Zer’s were polled, three of four stated that continuous professional development, self-directed learning, or self-paced learning would help them perform to the best of their ability. Hybrid blended options are available with distance learning, audio books, podcasts, eLearning modules, instructor led training, webinars, etc. Self-assessment and direction allows for learners to own and embrace their own unique path. Relevance and experiential learning is the difference between compliance and commitment of the workforce.
Social epidemics are caused by people, content, and environments. As Malcolm Gladwell would explain in the book, Tipping Point, the world is not immovable. We are always being ‘tipped’ in different directions. Choices are abundant in daily life. We can lean in or lean out. Since we often see what we focus on, I choose to believe Maysville’s tipping point has arrived for being able to harness our young talent and provide them with meaningful opportunities to learn, grow, and remain local!!