The boomers are aging, the millennials are the next big economic and social power group, and now there is the founder generation (at least according to MTV and Red Peak Youth who surveyed post-millennials to find a name for this new generation).
The Division of University Outreach and Engagement serves every generation in many different ways. Consequently, we need to understand the needs of each generation, how they learn and the best ways to engage them.
Of course, there is a danger in making wide, sweeping generalizations about any generation. Individuals are much more nuanced. Yet, seeking insights into the mindset of the approximately 79 million millennials, which are generally viewed as ages 18 to 34, is necessary to the Division’s work.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to the Pew Research Center. We want their kids involved in 4-H programs and we need them to lead those clubs. The generation is the prime audience for OSU enrollment in on-campus or online learning programs. Also according to the Pew Research Center, in the past five years more than half of newly arrived immigrant workers are millennials. Oh, and we need them in our workforce. There’s no question that the millennial generation will influence our work.
Jeff Hino, Learning Technology Leader in Extension & Experiment Station Communications (EESC), shared this presentation on Engaging Millennials to Outreach and Engagement’s ECAN Advisory Board. (ECAN is the acronym for the Extension Citizen Advisory Network, a network of geographically diverse volunteers who advocate locally and on a statewide basis on behalf of Extension. They also are the voice of our communities and, as such, offer counsel to Scott Reed, vice provost of the Division and director of Extension.)
Jeff searched for meaningful insights that are likely to impact the outreach and engagement work of the Division. Click through the presentation to learn about all of his insights, but here are a few highlights:
- Millennials are the first generation that never knew a time there wasn’t an Internet
- Millennials prefer online engagement
- Millennials are more individualistic – perhaps even rebellious – and independent than past generations
- Millennials are a passionate and connected generation
- Millennials need immediacy, depth, the fun factor, personal reward, and they want to be heard
- Millennials want to create or co-create their knowledge
Jeff even tells us what the implications are for the Division, suggesting we need to:
- Be tech savvy
- Go where they are (which is online)
- Get them involved in learning
- Use a variety of education media
- And whatever we do, it can’t be boring, or they will go elsewhere
Excelling in these areas is no small task, yet engaging millennials is vital to the success of the university’s outreach and engagement work. The Division needs to partner with the millennial generation to create healthy people, a healthy plant and a healthy economy.
How should our outreach and engagement efforts embrace the millennial generation? Post a comment.