Tech savvy. Entrepreneurial. Innovative. International. Intelligent. Self-confident. And most importantly, self-empowered.
This is Generation Z.
Beginning with this year’s senior class of college students, this generation includes those born between 1990 and 2000.
N.C. State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues focused on this new characterization of today’s youth in a forum held Monday and Tuesday.
Judith Cone, special assistant to the chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship at UNC-CH, attended the forum and said participants discussed how best to teach this technology-savvy generation, how to teach entrepreneurship and how the state can support students’ natural innovation after they’ve graduated.
The forum highlighted today’s difficult job market as a reason for the emergence of Generation Z’s skills, but Richard Harrill, director of Campus Y, said that is far too myopic of an assumption.
“The economic downturn is too recent to have this profound effect on a generation,” he said.
Harrill said these skills are the natural extension of the generation responsible for the dot-com explosion. Websites such as eBay and Amazon were the major companies when Generation Z was growing up, leading them to continue the same kind of innovation and ideas.
New technology and free public software has made starting a company more realistic and affordable for this generation, he said.