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Understanding and Preparing Our Future Workforce

March 17, 2023

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

Understanding and Preparing Our Future Workforce

Understanding and Preparing Our Future Workforce

Winston Peters is the Program Director of the Entrepreneurs@MC program and the new Entrepreneur Center at Manhattan College in New York. He is a co-founder of WÜLF University and a Principal at MyÜberLife Consulting Group. Winston explains how he purposefully connects and builds trust with his Gen Z students starting with the first homework assignment. He teaches students the skills they want and need for entering the labor market including those not on the syllabus. Winston shares what drives and concerns Gen Z’s leaving college. He suggests how we can build bridges across generations and help each other find fulfillment at work.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[03:15] Winston quickly bores of building high-rises using his civil engineering degree and delves into the New York cultural scene.

[03:54] Winston applies his skills differently to analyze and solve problems, wanting to make an impact.

[05:00] Winston found many creatives don’t fully understand the mechanics of their business.

[07:00] An engineer’s approach separates the fluff and breaks things down.

[08:08] WULF university was launched to provide critical learning that students don’t typically get in the classroom to help them in their careers.

[08:58] Empathy skills are needed to complement students’ competitive academic orientation so they can collaborate well in the workplace.

[10:45] How does Winston shift students’ mindsets?

[11:22] Looking through different lenses to develop understanding and build trust.

[12:51] How Winston shows up to develop trust, engage on a personal level, and make education collaborative.

[15:24] The importance of checking in and understanding how each student is (really) doing.

[17:02] Setting the tone at the beginning by understanding where people’s energy is.

[17:54] Human beings are judging machines based on pattern matching, and authenticity can be modeled to build a safe space.

[19:15] Winston leads by example.

[20:13] Winston’s compelling first homework assignment.

[20:56] Asking people how they learn develops understanding and context.

[23:12] The four +1 types of entrepreneurship students Winston teaches at Manhattan College.

[25:08] The importance of being anti-fragile and having multiple revenue streams.

[26:44] Some want corporate jobs to learn about corporate structure (for their own future venture).

[27:27] Two areas Gen Z’s believe are going to be key to their future success: understanding financials and creating contacts.

[29:25] Leaving college in debt, many students only explore the highest-paying jobs, not what will be fulfilling or give them security.

[31:05] Many Gen Z’s are entering the workforce taking jobs to survive.

[32:00] Why Winston doesn’t give extra credits in his class.

[33:54] The fundamental teaching orientation for Winston is human-centric—how to solve humans’ problems and sell to them.

[35:37] Winston is excited to work with students on a competition for a Blue Economy project—to convert water into reusable electricity.

[36:44] How Winston effectively enforces his “no phones in class” policy!

[38:24] Winston asks what students want to learn beyond the syllabus for their preferred career.

[40:02] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: If you are older, have more empathy for Gen Z: the world they are growing up in is very different; they are under a lot of pressure. Ask Gen Zers deeper questions about fulfillment. There’s no job security, so how can you help each other find fulfillment and what does that look like?

QUOTES

“The basic premise of being an engineer is being a problem solver and able to break things down into empirical forms.”

“There’s no difference between hard and soft skills. Soft skills are just more human skills that aren’t taught in the classroom that everyone needs.”

“In your professional career, you will most likely be collaborating with people. And so the sooner you learn the skills of collaboration the better off you'll be, “How can we win together? Instead of how can I beat you?’’”

“Trust is the most important thing. I don’t care how smart you are, but if you don’t have the trust of a young person, good luck trying to convince them that what you’re saying is true.”

“Gen Zers want to be more entrepreneurial. They’re looking for financial freedom and financial stability, as well as fulfillment.”

“I have a three-strike no-phone policy in my classroom. If by the third strike, I see someone with their phone, I don’t take away that person's phone, I take away everyone else’s phone….Now everyone’s working as a team. Everyone is accountable.”

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