Many people around Alaska and the country will enjoy a day off from work in observance of Labor Day, and it provides the perfect opportunity for Kenai Peninsula residents to reflect on what our local workforce has accomplished of late.
Labor Day has its origins in the New York City labor movement of the 1880s and was made a federal holiday in 1894. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the first proposal for the holiday suggested a parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” followed by a festival for workers and their families.
Locally, we’ve seen numerous positive economic developments. The renewed interest in Cook Inlet oil and gas has spurred growth in that sector. Tourism is rebounding. Numerous construction projects were completed this summer or are in progress, including two new buildings at Kenai Peninsula College, an expanded library in Soldotna, a new radiation oncology center at Central Peninsula Hospital, and the new Dena’ina Wellness Center in Old Town Kenai. The fishing industry — commercial, sport and personal-use — continues to be an important economic driver on the Peninsula. Despite the ups and downs of the national economy, we’ve got a lot to be grateful for here, not the least of which is a well trained workforce.
Certainly, there are challenges to our local economy, but today, let’s take a moment to appreciate the local workforce that makes it go. It is, after all, us — our friends, neighbors and ourselves, all of us who make the economy go.
It’s also a good time to think about ways to support our local workforce, like buying local whenever possible to keep those dollars circulating close to home.
And by all means, enjoy the day off from work and the hot dogs, burgers, fresh salmon, and whatever else you’ve got for the grill. You’ve earned it.