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State focuses on “Gen Z” as job creators

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, REI CEO Sally Jewell and Fast Company’s Robert Safian are just a few of the  high-profile speakers in Raleigh today and Tuesday for the 27th annual Emerging Issues Forum. This year’s theme: “Investing in Generation Z.”

Anita Brown-Graham, the director of the Institute for Emerging Issues, says while they may be named for the last letter of the alphabet, Generation Z is the most highly connected and digitally savvy group in our history.  By 2020, Gen Z will be the 18-30 year olds comprising the emerging core of North Carolina’s workforce.

She notes another unique aspect of this generation is that research shows that 54 percent of those aged 18-34 want to start their own business rather than work for someone else. An even higher percentage of young people of color – 64 percent of Latinos and 63 percent of African-Americans – expressed a desire to start their own companies.

Click below to hear a portion of Anita Brown-Graham’s recent radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon.  You can also watch livestreaming of the forum today and on Tuesday here.

One Comment


  1. david esmay

    February 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    As the father of four Gen-Zers, I’d like to point out that, they may be the most connected and digitally savvy, they’re also the least well read, least knowledgable about history, and because their whole lives have consisted of organized and supervised activities, they are the least independent generation.

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