A consulting firm just launched a networking 'collective' to help Gen Zers whose careers were derailed by the coronavirus. Here's how it works.

Scott Morgan/Reuters

Overnight, it seems, the oldest of Generation Z went from expecting to graduate into one of the strongest job markets in over 50 years, to trying to plan a future in the worst financial crisis of the century.

Their optimistic conversations, once about interviewing for new jobs and moving states for possible internships, quickly took a turn: Now, they’re talking about seeking unemployment and moving back to their hometowns to quarantine with family. Business Insider previously spoke to a few graduating college seniors and recent grads who said they’re terrified about the looming recession and “devastated” that their dreams of financial stability and prosperity have been dashed – much like what happened to the older millennials who graduated during the 2008 financial crisis.

Finding a job will now be one of the hardest challenges for Gen Zers – 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the last six weeks, according to the Guardian. Business Insider previously reported that the younger generation may be disproportionately affected by the layoffs, and on top of that, most don’t even qualify for the stimulus check.

PRZM, a Gen Z consulting firm, wants to help Gen Zers whose careers were derailed

Larry Milstein, a Gen Z entrepreneur and co-creator of the annual fundraising event Millennial Pink Party, cofounded the Gen Z-focused consulting firm PRZM with brand marketing strategist Liz Toney in 2019. Their firm has worked on Gen Z marketing strategy and insights with a number of notable brands and companies, including Sotheby’s, members-only club Soho House, and grooming brand Harry’s for their Flamingo women’s razor line. Milstein himself served as a “Zoomer strategist” for American Express, helping the financial service company develop a plan for appealing to the young generation.

In early April, the consulting firm launched PRZM People, a membership initiative that seeks to help Gen Zers affected by the pandemic and ensuing layoffs network virtually with working professionals and connect with current job opportunities and projects.

LUCY LONDON MCDONALDPRZM’s Liz Toney and Larry Milstein (top left to right) and TrĂ© Vayne and Grey (bottom left to right).

Milstein says that since the program launched, over 300 people have applied for membership. Membership is free, and there’s currently no cap on how many people can join.

“We’re trying to build an authentic community,” he said. “We want all sorts of people to join. We don’t want it to be this exclusive membership that you have to pay for because that’s antithetical to the mission of it, which is how to help people in moments of vulnerability.”

PRZM People will offer job opportunities, networking opportunities, and career training. The first upcoming projects for hire available to members, Milstein told Business Insider, include beta testing and providing feedback for a new virtual reality program, where members will be paid to try out a platform that allows people to build virtual environments for mobile devices. PRZM is also developing a video series that will provide entrepreneurial guidance and career advice for aspiring professionals who join the collective.

To be eligible for opportunities, all members have to do is indicate what their interests are in the membership application, and the firm will pair them with available brands and resources.

“This is a generation that doesn’t like to sit still and do nothing,” Grey, PRZM’s head of community, told Business Insider. “We are looking at our current situation and finding ways within or around it to do something with our lives. PRZM is a space we can access from our bedroom and we can be part of building plans for our world – the world post-COVID. And the truth of the matter is, this generation will have the greatest impact on what’s to come and what’s to be.”

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