Labor Day 2012: Honoring the Great American Worker
Secretary Hilda Solis
08:00 AM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from Work in Progress
On the first Monday of September, we honor the workers who built the world’s strongest economy. This Labor Day, as the U.S. Department of Labor approaches our centennial celebration, I take extra pride in the historic efforts of today’s workers to drive our recovery by learning new skills and adapting to new challenges.
For more than two centuries, the prospect of work has drawn people to our shores to pursue new opportunities and dreams of a better life. The demands on our workers have changed over the generations, but we’ve always risen to the occasion.
During the Industrial Age, factory workers saw their knowledge and paychecks grow as they mastered new processes to mass produce everything from automobiles to armaments. Following the Great Depression, more than 6 million women joined the workforce, clocking in at shipyards, lumber mills and foundries, and their production helped us win the Great War. And the Internet age carried the talents of our workers across the globe, as our ideas and products reached new markets and brought the world closer together.
As I mark my fourth Labor Day as the nation’s secretary of labor, I’m inspired by job seekers from all walks of life in this country going back to school and upgrading their skills to match the demands of a 21st century global economy. I’m impressed by communities coming together and new partnerships being formed among employers, labor unions and community colleges. And I’m reminded that for this federal agency and this administration, Labor Day has been, and will always be, every single day.
This Labor Day, we lift up American workers who are doing what it takes to reinvent themselves to ensure that our future is even brighter than our past.