More than one-in-three American workers are Millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, surpassing Generation X in 2015. However, while the Millennial influence continues to grow, the educational wants and needs of this group are still a bit of a mystery for association professionals.

In Abila’s Member Professional Development Study the number one challenge identified by professional organizations is attracting younger members to education and training programs. So, what is the secret to cracking the Millennial code and giving members of this massive generation the learning opportunities they’re after?

For starters, we have to understand the key decision drivers for why Millennials choose the education they do. In our study, Millennials told us the top two reasons they seek training is to learn a new skill and advance in their career.

When choosing a particular program, content is what matters to young professionals. They are after practical skills they can take back to work and use immediately.

Associations would do well to create programs that align with what Millennials value. Their increasing influence will shape the broader business landscape and drive new behaviors, which in turn will affect how associations attract, engage, retain, and provide professional development to this generation.

Here are some ideas you can put into action to leverage the findings from Abila’s study:

  • Organize your program catalog to include a practical skills category to meet the just-in-time learning need
  • Examine your current programs for opportunities to create nano-learning clips to cater to the schedule of a busy, young professional
  • Incorporate a member community with your education offerings to give Millennials the added bonus of networking with their peers and more advanced professionals
  • Offer a new grad or young professional discount on your programs to eliminate any barriers to entry for those starting out in their career
  • Create packages of “101” learning content for beginners to give them the new skills they desire

For more on Millennials’ take on today’s professional development landscape check out our Millennials and Professional Development Infographic, below. And download the full study.

Millennial Professional Development Infographic