Last year was all about the “millennial.” What do they want? Where do they come from? Will they lead us — via Twitterstorm — into societal oblivion? This year, however, I predict two words will dominate the conversation: millennial takeover.

It almost never fails. Since taking the helm of SNIPS magazine last summer, I’ve been to more than a few industry conferences, and there is always a session directed, or should I say, misdirected toward millennials. 

In these “millennial talks,” contractors looking to recruit are often scrutinized for their lack of tweeting habits, encouraged to put more pictures on their website (because millennials can’t read?) and told to “get on Facebook.” Now! 

“You have to meet millennials in their natural habitats,” so-called experts say. Because without this, they will slip right through your fingertips. The truth is, *we are not that difficult to reach. (*Yes, I am a millennial, too) And we want the same things everyone else wants … sort of. 
A Gallup report titled “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” says it best: “Like those in every generation before them, millennials strive for a life well-lived.” 

Sound familiar? But here’s where things start to fly off  the rails in terms of millennial interpretation: “They also want to be engaged in (those) jobs - emotionally and behaviorally connected to them. Yes, millennials want to be healthy, but they also want a purposeful life, active community and social ties, and financial stability.”

We aren’t afraid of hard work. And we know it takes hard work to make a living. All the more reason why we want our jobs to closely align with our sense of purpose. And what greater industry to prove that you can have an impactful purpose than ours? 

HVACR star Bryan Orr has beautifully mastered that mindset with his business Kalos Services Inc., which he started with his dad when he was 17. Orr isn’t trying to convince anyone of how great the trades are, he’s showing them by producing podcasts, videos and other helpful tips to keep those interested in the trades engaged. That’s what it takes. And we’re following suit.

Our How-to feature is a mini preview of a big step we are taking to engage new and seasoned sheet metal contractors. Because as our industry continues to grow with new talent, it is important now more than ever to embrace change and pass on those trade secrets so we all can keep building. 

Millennials are no longer coming. They are already here. And if you give us a chance, we will do just fine.