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Millennials will change the Tri-Cities. Come find out how

Amazon employees spend time with their dogs at a 17th-floor dog park last year on the company’s campus in Seattle. For Seattle, Amazon reshaped how the city sees itself and, in turn, is seen by the world. How millenials might affect the Tri-City workforce is the topic of the August meeting of the Columbia Basin Badger Club.
Amazon employees spend time with their dogs at a 17th-floor dog park last year on the company’s campus in Seattle. For Seattle, Amazon reshaped how the city sees itself and, in turn, is seen by the world. How millenials might affect the Tri-City workforce is the topic of the August meeting of the Columbia Basin Badger Club. NYT

We hear a lot about the millennial generation (also known as Generation Y — commonly born in the 1980s through the early 2000s) and differences between it and older generations.

Who are the millennials in the Tri-Cities? How are millennials shaping the future workforce of the Mid-Columbia region? What are millennials looking for in the community? These questions will be the topic of discussion at the Aug. 23 Columbia Basin Badger Club forum.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of millennials in the workforce surpassed Gen Xers in 2016, and millennials are now the largest workforce by generation.

Working millennials already deeply impact the Tri-Cities workforce. As an example, jobs related to PNNL and Hanford account for 13 percent of the Tri-Cities workforce.

The average age of a Hanford worker is over 50, while the cleanup is expected to continue for decades. As of June 30, Mission Support Alliance — the largest Hanford contractor — has 1,918 employees. This does not include subcontractors. Of that number, 30 percent will be reaching the average retirement age of 62 within the next five years.

Millennials in the workforce have significantly different traits than previous workforces. They tend to be motivated by meaning, challenge hierarchy, seek relationships in the workforce, crave feedback, and do not simply want to have fun. Companies such as Microsoft are rapidly changing their corporate mission, structure, and workplace for the new workforce generation as a major focus of their growth as a company. Many experts believe that Microsoft’s recent upswing of successes is due to how it deliberately changed its business strategy to leverage the skills of the younger workforce.

Millennials are fueling the region’s rapid population growth. According to the Tri-Cities Washington Economic Development Council (TRIDEC), the 2017 metropolitan population estimate for the Tri-Cities grew 12 percent from the 2010 census. Over the past decade, Washington State University Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College have experienced rapid growth that is impacting the community. For example, 85 percent of WSU Tri-Cities graduates continue to work in Benton-Franklin County. Locally educated millennials are more likely to work and stay in the Tri-Cities.

The purpose of this forum will be to discuss myths, awareness, benefits, and needs of the local generational workforce change. Is the community ready for the workforce transition? What is great about the community for millennial adults, and more importantly, what is missing to help recruit and retain more working adults in our community?

This Thursday, the Columbia Basin Badger Club is pleased to bring three speakers. Erik Ralston is a working millennial, co-founder of Fuse Business & Community Accelerator, and the chief architect at LiveTiles. Candice Bluechel is the president of the Three Rivers Soroptimist Club and will discuss how the service club is attracting the next generation of young leaders to shape its future. Savannah Kresse is the vice president of WSU Tri-Cities student body, a pre-law student from Grandview, community activist, mother and wife committed to advancing more inclusion in the community.

The Columbia Basin Badger Club is a nonpartisan Tri-City organization that is dedicated to civil discourse on topics important to our region.

If you go:

When:11:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 23

Where: Establishment 323 at 4th Avenue and Vancouver Street, Kennewick

Cost: $20 for Badger Club members, $25 for nonmembers and $30 on day of event registration

RSVP:Call 628-6011 or go to cbbc.clubexpress.com

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