Dave Krishock, Kansas State University, Grain Science Industry

PROCESS EXPO | Expert in Residence
Millennials Again?
Dave Krishock | Kansas State University

Another article about Millenials and their self-centered, tech enamored, job-hopping tendencies will be the downfall of the American workplace? Not quite! Look at the picture below:

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The five students show above are currently upperclassmen and women in the Bakery Science and Management program at Kansas State University, Manhattan KS, the same institution of which I have been a faculty member for the last eleven years. During that same period, my faculty colleagues and I have sent out over one hundred millennials into the workforce. Have they all gone into the baking/food and grain based industries? No, but over 87% of them have (and remain), and I’ve been able to make several observations during their time at Kansas State as students, as summer interns as well as their movements following graduation.

Considering that Millenials (potential employees born from 1981–2000) are projected to comprise almost 40% of the American workforce within the next five years, they definitely are a force to be reckoned with. Is their transition much different than when we Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), began our first foray into the workforce carrying our hand-held calculators, listening to Boston, AC/DC, the Grateful Dead, and telling all who would listen that we were “loyal to the core.” Most definitely yes, and you can blame, Steve Jobs, Instagram, Uber, Facebook, and the Google machine if you wish. But I don’t.

In working alongside, mentoring, advising, and trying my best to introduce these young people to some basic principles about food chemistry, managing people, the virtue of punctuality and the significance of Specific Gravity’s linkage to final product characteristics in chemically leavened products, I've come to the conclusion that they are a heck of a lot more tech savvy then I ever will be. And I’m okay with that, simply because they teach and challenge me every day. I want to be a better baker, better professor, and better team member, and if the newest and best apps, software, and porn-free internet offerings can allow me to do that, I’m most copacetic with that. I don’t wish to “water down” my standards nor soften my expectations. However, I'm a realist, and if these young people —

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— are to play a major impact in the food- and grain-based industries for the next two to three decades, I want to be able to embrace that enthusiasm, optimism, and “can do spirit,” while coaching/leading them through the myriad of challenges prompted by 21st century consumer. Not really that much different than what any new employee (regardless of their birthdate) expects when they take on a new work assignment, job opportunity, or promotion.

Dave Krishock | [email protected]