Generation Z Initiatives

Generation Z Initiatives


The 2011 Emerging Issues Forum would not have been the same without the Generation Z ambassadors. In order to talk about how to prepare for the next generation, we thought it was necessary for youth to be a part of the conversation, and the Generation Z ambassadors truly stepped up to that challenge. Just as participants worked collaboratively to create action items, they spent two days developing ideas for programs that they thought were crucial for their generation’s — and North Carolina’s — future success.

Now, IEI established Gen Z task forces comprised of Generation Z members, experts in each of these fields, and mentors to help guide the process of brainstorming, developing and turning these ideas into action. Here are the Generation Z initiatives and the progress each task force has made.

Healthy Eating Initiative

The Generation Z Ambassadors are committed to encouraging other youth across the state to eat healthy foods. This plan involves two parts. First, they want to increase access to local, healthy foods in schools across North Carolina. This means both on cafeteria lines and in vending machines. Second, they want nutrition education more fully incorporated into K-12 health classes in public schools.

This task force is devising a peer advocacy program to help students promote and encourage their peers to choose healthy eating options that are available on their school menus. If you would like to learn more, please contact Kendall Hageman at

Business Mentorship Program

Even though their generation is the most technologically connected in history, the Gen Z Ambassadors were concerned that their peers were not prepared for putting their technologically-based communication skills into practice in the professional world. They want to develop a mentorship program that will bring business professionals into North Carolina classrooms to teach students professional skills, particularly tied to communication, that they will need as they prepare to enter the workforce. The task force will talk to experts across the state to create a how-to guide on starting a business mentorship program, including potential funding opportunities. They plan on not simply identifying the best practices, but will also need people willing to help pilot such a program. Once the document is complete, they will use it to guide the pilot. If you are interested in such a program, please contact Kendall Hageman at

Community Co-Working Spaces

Generation Z Ambassadors recognize that their generation is entrepreneurial, and they believe that more space is needed to nurture this entrepreneurial spirit. Community co-working spaces allows budding entrepreneurs the room to begin putting their ideas into action and the opportunity to network with other similarly minded peers in their communities.

After talking with experts across the state, the task force compiled a series of best practices for those looking to start a community coworking space, and are actively sharing it across various coworking networks. You can find the report here. This report was widely distributed at the statewide NC Entrepreneurial Summit Sept. 24-25 in Asheville. Similarly, IEI partnered with the NC Entrepreneurship Summit to develop this video on coworking to explain how it works, why people might participate in coworking and how it can benefit the community.

Please contact Diane Cherry at for more information.

Some of these Generation Z members are already putting ideas into action. Check out this year’s Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation finalists!

Want to learn more about Generation Z? Download our paper, The Face of Gen Z Read more about some of the obstacles they face in our Generation Z Challenges.