By Missy Hughes and Amy Pechacek
Labor Day, which became a federal holiday in 1894, is a celebration of those who work day in and day out keeping the economic engine rolling along. Nowhere is there more reason for celebration than in Wisconsin.
Innovative, educated, and conscientious, Wisconsin workers show up looking to do their jobs a little better every day — and they don’t stop until they succeed. They’re just as committed to making things better for themselves, their families, and their communities – both on the job and off.
Their creativity and flexibility – whether it’s adapting to remote work, learning to manage eat-in and take-out restaurant orders simultaneously, or taking that leap and starting their own businesses – have fueled the remarkable growth we’re now experiencing.
We’ve also been reminded that our workers may need a little help to do their jobs well. We’ve seen how access to training, education, health care, child care, transportation, and housing can propel workers to new heights.
We also know that helping workers of different abilities get into the workforce, helping bring more women and people of color into the workforce, helping young people launch their careers when they are ready – all bring diversity, new perspectives and energy to the workplace – making our businesses stronger and smarter.
Across state government, we’re investing strategically to help Wisconsin workers and to strengthen our communities so they can attract the best talent from all over the country. For example, at Governor Evers’ direction, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Workforce Development are providing more than $128 million in Workforce Innovation Grants to 27 regional projects to meet workforce needs in key sectors.
As the name suggests, these are innovative, grassroots, collaborative, practical solutions – such as helping small school districts grow their next generation of teachers, ensuring a steady supply of rural health care workers, and providing that last mile of transportation between the bus stop and a local employer.
Government’s role is to deliver to our businesses people who are ready and able to work – people who are educated and trained, who have stable housing, health care, and transportation, and whose kids have enough to eat and safe places to grow. By serving the workers and the businesses that employ them, we are serving Wisconsin. This weekend and always, we need to celebrate our workers by joining together to give them the support they deserve. It’s an investment that will pay off for generations.
Missy Hughes is Secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state’s leading economic development organization.
Amy Pechacek is Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.