Shaping the Future of Work: What Employers Can Learn from Young Workers

In light of a common narrative around today’s “labor shortage,” many young workers are pushing back, noting that the real shortage is the lack of decent jobs where employees are safe, valued, and fairly compensated. On September 29, 2021, PBS and America’s Promise Alliance’s YES Project hosted a live panel event, Shaping the Future of Work: What Employers Can Learn from Young Workers. This conversation, led by a panel of young workers, focused on how young people themselves can help inform employers as they seek to create work environments that attract and retain young talent.

Watch a recording of the event below:

future of work social card
Wednesday Sep 29 - Wednesday Sep 29, 2021
future of work social card

Check out 5 Quotable Moments:

“I don’t think that education should be structured with the goal of getting students jobs. I think it really should be focused on making our youth well rounded, well adjusted, compassionate, community-involved folks. I would love to see high schools focus more on critical thinking skills, being able to challenge the status quo, be a free thinker and bring that into the workforce.”

—Katherine Berry, sales manager based in Seattle, WA

“When I was looking for residency programs, it was really important to me to look at the diversity of other residents in the program. Now more so than ever, patients want doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals that look like them, that have the same values as them. So it’s really important to have diversity in the medical field.”

—Sarah Bedoyan, resident-physician based in Pittsburgh, PA

“Even just based off skin color, the industry I work in is heavily white, cis-male, 40 and up… Us millennials, we’re coming in as our whole selves. I refuse to shave myself down, or belittle myself, or put myself in a box just because I’m coming to work as my whole self.”

—Jordan Battle, diesel mechanic based in Atlanta, GA

“We’re in a time and place where millennials and gen z are looking for something to happen now… And that’s not to say we’re impatient or we’re rushing, it’s just that we’ve seen way too many times where something is promised to us or said that it is going to happen and it eventually doesn’t happen and we’re back at square one. So I think that’s the biggest thing. You need to line up with whatever your community believes in.”

—Deshaun Rice, nonprofit associate based in Memphis, TN


“The world is kind of changing in how we’re all looking for that good job that aligns with our beliefs, that wants to care about our mental health… These companies need to be communicating that… Sharing more about themselves and what they believe in. And getting out there in their communities and also talking about it.”

—Rianna Garcia, restaurant manager based in Austin, TX