Category Archives: Generational

Generational Differences

Faces of the Future: Generation Z

 What does the future of the US look like? The next generation is the focus of an NBC News special which features stories of their lives and expectations. The American Diversity Report is eager to share excerpts from that special on TODAY.COM
 
TO COME OF AGE IN 2017 in America is to enter adulthood in a time of often overwhelming turbulence. The country is deeply divided, technology is reshaping the world at a breakneck pace, and the future seems filled with uncertainty. As each day appears to bring with it another crisis, from unprecedented natural disasters to horrific mass killings to violent and vehement ideological clashes, questions lurk in the background: Who will inherit this world? And what will they do with it?

Enter Generation Z

 
Loosely defined as those born after 1995, this new wave of soon-to-be grown-ups—also dubbed the iGeneration, Centennials, Post-Millennials, Founders, Plurals and the Homeland Generation, depending on whom you ask—picks up where millennials left off. True digital and social media natives, they’re ever-connected, multitasking on many screens and more comfortable sharing on Snapchat than IRL. “They are the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones,” says Jean Twenge, author of “iGen,” who has studied the group extensively. “That really rapid adoption of smartphones has had ripple effects across many areas of their lives.”

Generation Z and the 2016 Election

The 2016 election marked the first time many Gen Zers were able to vote, in an event that has served to spotlight and magnify the fractures and fissures in the nation. Decisions made by this administration will have ramifications for years to come, and many of the top issues that drove voters to the polls can be interpreted as de facto battle lines along which the country is dividing itself: Health care. Guns. Immigration. Abortion. The treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people. Climate change.
 
So how do young people growing up in today’s chaotic environment feel about their country, their cities and their lives? We’ve spent the last few months following a handful of teenagers on the frontlines of Generation Z: five students who graduated from high school in 2017 and are full of big dreams. For these individuals, the issues facing the country aren’t just hypotheticals to see on the news or be debated by politicians onstage, but their daily realities.

A Generation Z story: Destiny Robertson

Destiny grew up in one of the poorest communities in the country, McDowell County, West Virginia. “We have some of the best people in the whole world,” says the 18-year-old, who grew up in the county in the town of Northfork. “I wouldn’t be who I am without where I am.”

West Virginia got a lot of attention on the presidential campaign trail from candidate Trump, who promised to bring mining jobs back to a state struggling with unemployment. People have been leaving McDowell County, once the top coal producer in the state, ever since coal production started to decline decades ago. Since its peak in 1950, the region’s population has dropped by over 80 percent. The unemployment rate is now more than double the national average, and more than 1 in 3 people live in poverty.

Destiny, whose grandfather was a coal miner, believes in her community, but doesn’t think the future lies in trying to chase the past. “A lot of my friends—my male friends—that’s their dream, to become a coal miner. That’s where you can make the most money here, when you can get a job,” she says. “I’m definitely in the minority. My views are that we have to move on from coal.”

Meanwhile, the county, like the rest of West Virginia, is in the throes of the opioid crisis. The overdose rate here is nearly five times the national average. “You have a big problem in West Virginia and we are going to solve that problem,” President Trump said on a visit to the state in August. In October, he declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

The president is popular in McDowell County. Seventy-five percent of the votes here went to him in the 2016 election, but Destiny’s wasn’t among them – at 17, she was still too young to vote at the time. She doesn’t like to get too public with her political beliefs, but she’s passionate about voter registration and encouraging people to make their voices heard. “Being a black woman in this town, it’s important to me to exercise my right to vote,” she says.

And she hopes President Trump will come through for the people of her county, who desperately need help. “This place has an epidemic going on…I’d hope that this new administration will bring awareness to that and help us figure out a way to get rid of the addiction.”

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For more stories of Generation Z, click on
  Faces of the Future

Mother’s & Father’s Day When They’re Gone – by Deborah Levine

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are great American traditions, but I’m not sure I like them. Unhappily, I have a really big problem with these days because I don’t have the goods. My mother and grandmother who were such loving figures in my life are gone. My father, who I take after in so many ways, is gone, too. I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself.  My children live far away but will no doubt call or send a card. I’m grateful for their love but I would really like to call my own parents. Just knowing they were around made life balanced and feel more secure.

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Letter Home from WW II Soldier – Courtesy of Deborah Levine

On special occasions, Veterans & Memorial Day, I reread this letter from a young soldier, my father, Aaron Levine. On the verge of being deployed to Europe during World War II, he wrote this 1944 note. He writes his pregnant wife who came to NYC to see him off, but missed him.  My father didn’t see his son until he was one year old. Aaron Levine passed away at age 84 and worked on community projects even on his death bed. 
 Literary, practical, loving, and methodical, here is his good-bye letter …

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Workplace Flexibility: It’s Time for Straight Talk – by Paul Rupert

In 1986 colleagues Barney Olmsted and Suzanne Smith asked me to join them at New Ways to Work, the original flex think tank, in a national campaign to promote “equitable flexibility.” It was one part response to the promising emergence of Job Sharing, Part-time, Telecommuting – and possibly Phased Retirement – as scheduling flexibility in a range of corporations steeped in industrial habits.

And it was another part defense against the growing popularity of the “contingent workforce.” This strategy of creating a ring of benefit-less part-time, temporary and contract workers surrounding a core of “regular employees” offered companies staffing flexibility – but it was flexibility at the expense of employees. (The DNA of these practices seems emergent on steroids in today’s “Gig economy.”)

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2017 Goals: Diversity – by Deborah Levine

As we begin 2017, the results of the U.S. presidential election are rippling through the national consciousness. Not surprisingly, there is much discussion on the fate of diversity advocacy in the community and in business. The economics of diverse communities, particularly regarding race, gender, and generation have become a daily issue for news reporting. Debate over Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the workplace is a natural extension of the discussion. Opinions range from D&I as a failure to D&I as more necessary than ever. Here are the vision and goals of diversity advocates followed by comments by D&I consultants. Together, they demonstrate a determination and renewed passion for both a diverse society and the diverse workplace.

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What Should an Aspiring Global Leader Know? — by Deborah Levine

Here’s what teenage global leaders-in-training had to say when asked what a young global leader should know. The words of wisdom come from high school and middle school students participating in the American Diversity Report Youth Global Leadership Class. Enjoy their  timeless advice and then read what leadership experts said about preparing the upcoming generation of leaders.

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Millennial Dream or Oxymoron? – by Paul Rupert

From the earliest blogs and profiles on Millennials – and there have been thousands – they were described as the anti-formal generation. Popular images painted them as innovating from Starbucks and boycotting performance reviews. No rigid flex options, no packages of stale annual feedback for them.

Times and preferences change. Millennials are quickly becoming the workplace norm, not the newbies. Many seek advancement rather than “job hopping.” This adventurous cohort is forming families in earnest, and with record percentages of dual earner couples. They face challenges that are both considerable and growing.

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STEM Trends and Goals for Young Women – by Sheila Boyington

As a nation, it is imperative that we make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education a top priority to address the national STEM workforce shortage and to remain competitive in the 21st century economy. A constant supply of well-trained STEM workers is essential to meeting the  goals of finding ways to multiply the impact of investments, supporting organizations that assist underserved populations and use technology in innovative ways to scale their reach to more people.

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Emerging Trends in D&I – By Mauricio A. Velásquez

As a professional who has worked in the D&I field for 25 years, I am seeing some significant emerging trends in the workplace. As a result of an improving economy, previously slashed HR budgets are finally being revitalized with attention being paid to training and development – especially for diversity and inclusion. In addition, as the labor market continues to improve, more employers are talking about becoming an “employer of choice” and strengthening their programs and employee relationships. The days of employers feeling their staff should “just be happy to have a job” are increasingly behind us as the market shifts in favor of employees. Savvy employers who value diversity, widen their recruiting net and retain talent by implementing inclusive programs will win the war for new talent. The newest generation entering the workforce is more diverse than ever and the generation behind it will produce an even more diverse “wave” of new hires. Status quo is no longer applicable.

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Arbitrators of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Lack Diversity – by Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA)

A new report shows that 80 % of financial industry arbitrators are male with an average age of 69. Contrary to claims made by the FINRA, its pool of arbitrators that decide virtually all investor disputes with financial professionals in the U.S. lacks diversity, according to a new report released by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). This diversity problem in arbitration is made worse by the almost total lack of transparency in how the FINRA arbitrators are recruited and what disclosures they make, said the report.

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