Happy Labor Day! While many folks rightfully take this holiday as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family and hail the first signs of fall, we’d like to take a moment to focus on workers themselves.
After all, our entire system depends on workers. They do the labor needed to make corporations, partnerships and other company types function. They earn the money needed to support a consumer economy. These days, as tariffs threaten and overseas markets stumble, workers are likely preventing our country from slipping into recession.
But work itself has changed. In recent decades, low-skilled yet high-wage positions have all but vanished. “Blue collar” jobs are almost as likely to require computer expertise as white collar ones, and additional training is a foregone conclusion. Fully participating in today’s economy, in other words, requires more on the part of workers.
That’s the reality. Making the most of that reality requires public investment.
We’ve emphasized the point repeatedly. We have lifted up the expansion of the Washburn Institute of Technology to an east campus, bringing needed training to those who might not have had access to it before. Across Kansas, educators are rising to the challenge and tailoring educational programs to make sure workers have the skills they need for a rewarding career.
For that matter, high-quality inmate training in our state’s prisons enables the inmates to have a better shot at jobs after their release. A thriving economy depends on everyone possible taking their place and playing a role, after all.
Workers matter. That’s a central message of Labor Day. But that’s not the only message, not by a long shot. We also look to companies, those that employ workers and pay them wages and support them with benefits. We look to companies, those that have invested in our state and those that are looking to. We appreciate their confidence and support.
They have a responsibility, too. Businesses have a responsibility to support workers, to make sure they’re able to afford the basics and learn and grow in their home communities. Businesses have a responsibility to make sure their practices encourage rather than discourage, build rather than tear down, grow rather than shrink.
When both workers and businesses are on the same page, great things can happen for our economy.
This Labor Day, let’s devote ourselves to making that happen.