In less than 10 years, the majority of the U.S. workforce is predicted to be freelancers.

About 57.3 million Americans already freelance, which is 36 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the “Freelancing in America: 2017” report released in October by Upwork and the Freelancers Union.

Freelancing and entrepreneurship will be the future for much of the newest segment of the U.S. workforce — Generation Z.

While working on a story about young entrepreneurs this week, I had the opportunity to speak with Patrick Cush, the founder and headmaster of Launch High School in Colorado Springs.

The nonprofit innovative charter school uses entrepreneurship as one of its core subjects on top of social studies, math, science and English.

Students create a business or nonprofit idea and then develop with the goal of having it up and running by the time they graduate, Cush said.

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“The risks are so much lower for our students trying to develop their own business,” he said. “If you are on your own in college, you have certain obligations like rent, food or tuition and that would potentially impair your startup.”

The most successful entrepreneurs will say they wish they had started earlier, Cush said.

Generation Z is what Forbes magazine and other media outlets have named the group following Millennials. They were born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s and make up a quarter of the U.S. population.

According to research conducted by Accounting Principals, Gen Zers are 55 percent more likely to want to start their own business venture than Millennials. When surveyed, 72 percent of high schoolers said they want to start their own business.

Technology could be one reason Gen Zers seem more independent.

Some have referred to Millennials as “digital natives,” but I would argue it’s really Generation Z for one simple reason — smartphones. Millennials weren’t playing the video game Angry Birds on their parents’ cell phones when they were two years old like many Gen Zers were.

This week I also had the privilege of speaking with educators at Falcon School District 49 about what differences they see with the youngest generation as well as changes being made to help prepare graduates for the workforce.

Bob Gemignani, the workplace learning manager for D49, believes the U.S. is experiencing a cultural shift, which is affecting Gen Zers approach to employment, he said, adding that technology is too.

“I’m a Baby Boomer and things have changed so much in the last generation and in the last four years or so,” he said.

Learn more about what’s going on with Gen Z as they start to enter the workforce — as well as local efforts to help young entrepreneurs — in the Sept. 21 edition of the Business Journal.