Posted August 6, 2017 by Mark Perna
Generation Z, also called the Internet Generation, is growing up fast. Born roughly starting in 1996, America’s youngest generation is a fascinating mix of new and traditional attitudes about work, innovation, responsibility, and loyalty. And one of the more interesting developments we’re seeing is their strong bent toward entrepreneurship.
The Millennials are known for their “side hustles,” small business gigs performed in the evenings or weekends alongside their regular jobs to bring in some extra money and maybe pursue a passion that can’t quite support full-time employment. But the next generation seems to be taking this one step further, with nearly 80% saying they want to be their own boss one day. Independent and innovative, Generation Z is very attracted to the freedom and responsibility of entrepreneurship.
Much of this drive to break the corporate workplace mold has arisen from this generation’s immersive Internet connectedness. Millennials are digitally savvy, but Gen Z are digital natives for whom the web has always been just a click away. Far from being passive recipients of this wealth of information, they are using it to gain valuable knowledge, discover market needs, and build products and brands around the opportunities they perceive. Peer-to-peer sites and apps have opened up a whole new world of consumers and creators. The stories of teen and even middle-school entrepreneurs making significant profits via their online businesses are becoming more and more common as Gen Z capitalizes on the opportunities our connected world now affords.
This demonstrates what I have believed all along: today’s younger generations have amazing potential, intelligence, and resourcefulness. They’re smart and adaptive, and it’s our privilege to help them make the most of their natural gifts to change the world for the better.
In my last blog I talked about the ways employers can partner with this up-and-coming generation of innovative entrepreneurs. For the field of career and technical education (CTE), the entrepreneurial aspirations of Gen Z present an exciting opportunity. Gen Z may be on their native turf when it comes to the worldwide web, but they still have a lot to learn. The Gallup.com article I cited earlier says:
Despite their energy and ambitions, the Gallup-HOPE Index findings suggest many students are not getting the education and work experience they need to help achieve their goals. While 87% agree that the more education they get, the more money they will make, far fewer report getting the type of practical knowledge and experiences that will be useful once they are in the workforce.
There are so many ways that CTE programs can benefit the entrepreneur-minded young person today:
With contextualized learning, hands-on experiences, high-demand focus areas, and opportunities for self-discovery and development, CTE is clearly poised to meet the pressing need of entrepreneur-minded students. Now is the moment to share a simple truth: CTE gives you the tools to be your own boss. Let’s get that message out there to inspire the next generation of movers and shakers.