Happy Labor Day

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Many area families will enjoy Labor Day weekend by holding backyard barbecues, spending an extended weekend at the lake or taking a mini vacation. Labor Day comes roughly two months after the mid-summer Fourth of July holiday. In addition to serving as a much needed break before student activities hit full speed and families begin juggling work, study time, sports and other student events, Labor Day is a celebration of our nation's workforce.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary, organized the first Labor Day observance in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882. The event included a parade with 10,000 workers. Congress passed a bill to establish the federal holiday in 1894, and President Grover Cleveland signed a bill designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Today, the nation's labor force is made up of around 155 million people. Some of the top occupations include: cooks, janitors and building cleaners and teachers. According to the Department of Labor, over 8 percent of our nation's workforce is currently unemployed.

As many people in our country continue to struggle to find employment, United States Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has released a list of tips for job seekers. Her tips include:

* Visit www.careeronestop.org to find a local American Job Center and receive assistance with building resumes and interview skills and exploring current job openings.

* Myskillsmyfuture.org offers career suggestions based on a job seeker's existing skills. The website also connects users with free training programs and employers looking to hire.

* Mynextmove.org features a questionnaire that can help individuals select a new career path. The site also identifies local apprenticeship and certificate programs.

* Veterans are encouraged to visit mynextmove.org/vets/, which uses military occupation codes to connect veterans to civilian job opportunities.

* Individuals who do not have Internet access in their homes can visit public libraries, including the Cassville Branch Library, to gain free Internet access.

* The United States Department of Labor also offers a toll-free help line, which can be reached by calling 866-4USA-DOL. The help line offers bilingual operators.

I hope all area families have an enjoyable and safe Labor Day weekend!

Lindsay Reed