If you were to visit the local coffee shop on any given
morning, or wander the aisles of Target or Harris Teeter, or stroll through
downtown during brunch hours, over the weekend, you would probably notice a
large population of young professionals.
The term young professional generally refers to young people in their twenties and thirties – and we see them everywhere! It probably has a lot to do with the fact that millennials make up 35% of the workforce, making them the largest generation in the US labor force. Gen Xers are right behind them, accounting for 33% of the workforce. (Fry, 2018) A UNC study anticipates that by year 2020, millennials will make up 46% of the workforce.
So how are they fitting into our community and the workplace?
HYPE (Helping Young Professionals Engage), a former Chamber program, aimed to connect young professionals throughout the county. The initiative was exclusively for young professionals and included socials, occasional meet-ups, and volunteer opportunities. In an effort to better serve area young professionals, the Chamber is shifting our focus to engage young professionals in events and programming that are already occurring. Our goal is to not host siloed events for young professionals, but to engage them with all generations in the workplace. Young professionals have made it known that they don’t want to just exist in our community. They want to be a part of the bigger picture and have a place at the table and in the community.
As the Chamber makes the shift to having a more intentional focus on engaging young professionals in current programming, we hope that current and future chamber members will encourage young professionals in their workplace to take advantage of the opportunities offered. For most young professionals, they have their friend groups. They are looking for connections. That connection may be with another young professional in the area or with someone who will be a mentor to them as they navigate their career, making their passions profitable and figuring out how they can contribute to the community.