Start Main Content

Your Value to the American Workforce

Labor Day marked more than just the end of summer and the start of school for some of us. On this day we honored and celebrated the contributions American workers have made to strengthen and move this nation forward.

When this holiday originated in the late 1800s, most of the protections American workers benefit from today did not exist. Many people worked longer hours under unsafe conditions, and children as young as five worked in mills, factories and mines. President Grover Cleveland commemorated Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1887. Learn more about the history of Labor Day on the Department of Labor site.

While people with disabilities are a part of the American workforce and have added to the nation’s growth, employment hurdles have often been greatest for people with disabilities.  

Labor Day serves as a reminder of the value of work for yourself, your family, and your community:

“The basic bargain of America is that no matter who you are, where you come from or what you look like, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it.”

Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez

We’ve come a long way from long work days, unsafe conditions and child labor. Today, people who work in America are afforded basic protections to secure safety and a more reasonable standard of living. From the Americans with Disabilities Act to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, there are more protections and opportunities than ever for people with disabilities.

As more people with disabilities find employment, the American workforce is becoming more representative of the American people. Check out Ticket to Work Success Stories. As we pay tribute to the contributions of workers past and present, we commit to providing the support and services for people with disabilities to explore their work options and achieve their career goals.

Throughout the month, the spirit of Labor Day is alive and well. Share your stories of working and contributions to the workforce with us in the comments section below.


<< Return to Blog

1 Comment

Tommie says:
September 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I have never seen such a tribute before to those living and working with mental illness.  Kudos to you all.