This weekend is a chance to offer a salute to labor

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Labor Day is more than a long weekend punctuated with a family cookout or one last beach day at Simmons Island.

While enjoying the last unofficial weekend of summer, be sure to carve some time out of your festivities to reflect on the extraordinary contribution of American workers – especially those right here in Wisconsin and Kenosha County.

One of America’s greatest strengths has always been its highly skilled and productive workforce. I would argue that within these 50 states, Wisconsin can be counted as an area of the country with some of the most highly skilled and productive employees.

There are a few factors that make Wisconsin workers stand above the rest. One is our strong work ethic. In surveys of Kenosha County employers conducted annually through our KABA Business Retention and Expansion Program, companies consistently rank Kenosha County’s workforce high, especially relative to its productivity, quality, and stability.

Another factor is that our strong work ethic is passed down through generations, leading to Wisconsinites to enter the workforce at a younger age. Our youth see the value in working and begin putting in a hard day’s work sooner than in other areas of the country. To that end, KABA coordinates apprenticeships, internships, and facility tours which are all effective ways to engage students with local employers and get younger people thinking about future career options, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

Wisconsin also has some of the highest labor participation rates in the country – ranking among the top ten states. Kenosha County specifically has an employment rate of 4.3%, which is maximum employment. People in Wisconsin want to work!

Lastly, Wisconsin’s workforce is highly skilled. We have a rich legacy of manufacturing and a well-trained workforce that comes from that artisan heritage. From hand tools to underwear, guacamole to centrifuges, we make things in Wisconsin and we make them well.

I believe that economic development depends on many factors – one of the most important being a high-quality workforce. I am new to the Kenosha area but was born and raised in Wisconsin and understand its unique value proposition when it comes to our talent pool.

With assets like four institutions of higher learning, aligned community leaders, a strategic location, and thriving businesses, I know Kenosha County will continue to boast one of the best workforces in the nation.

This article originally appeared as a guest commentary on the Kenosha News.

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