By 2020, the Millennial generation will make up roughly 50% of the U.S. workforce, changing the way we do business and also the way we retain our best employees. Mix that with the fact that 65% of millennials say opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in selecting their current job and it becomes obvious that we need to be engaging our young professionals and offering them ways to grow both personally and professionally within the association. 

Through ABC’s National Young Professional program, millennials throughout the country are getting involved in the association, developing their careers and learning from each other. In the Q&A below, one member of the national program, Stacey Ehring, business development specialist at Shapiro & Duncan, Inc., shares why being involved is important to her and how it is helping her career.

Q1. Why did you decide to join the National Young Professional group? 
A1: To compare notes with peers on topics like LEED/Green construction, technology, workplace productivity, professional development, best practices, marketing, business development and skilled labor gap issues. It’s a great avenue to share ideas and brainstorm. Many construction companies have a marketing department with 1 or 2 people, so it's important to network with other creative-like minds in order to stay current and generate new and fresh ideas.

Q2. What has been the best part about participating? 
A2: Knowing that my network expands outside the D.C., Md., and Va. area. What's trending on the east coast might be different in other parts of the country. It's important to connect with people all over in the same industry.

Q3. Why is it important to you to be involved in an association early on in your career? 
A3: When you’re young, you have more time and energy to participate. You can learn things from other people and companies just through conversations that you have. You can't get all of your knowledge from a textbook. In order to be a leader one day, it's important for me to develop relationships with the best people in our industry. The only way to do that is to become actively involved in an association.

Q4. Why should other young professionals join the program and focus on professional/leadership development? 
A4: Once you complete your associates, bachelors or apprenticeship programs the journey should not end. You need to continue your education somewhere in order to stay on top of new practices, technology, etc. You can only sit behind a desk for so long, before people forget who you are. You need to put yourself out there and make those connections.

To learn more and join the ABC National Young Professional program and receive discounts, networking and learning opportunities and to engage with ABC leadership, visit youngprofessionals.abc.org or contact puglisi@abc.org