OPINION

On this Labor Day, take a moment to recognize the contributions of Kansas workers during the pandemic

The Editorial Advisory Board
Take a moment to recognize the American workers driving our economy this Labor Day.

Labor Day is upon us. And it’s more than just a day off of work to have a barbecue. 

The point of Labor Day is to recognize the contributions of laborers to society.

Keeping that in mind, let’s take a moment to celebrate the American worker.

The farmer who produces crops and drives our state’s economy. The office workers who keep things moving. The factory and warehouse workers who keep our supply chain moving. The frontline workers who heroically have stepped up to keep us fed, safe and taken care of in the face of a raging pandemic and the mess that is 2021.

Thank you all for your time. We know the last year had been hard. You’ve faced setbacks, ever-changing mandates and regulations, a shifting workplace landscape and so many other issues unique to this pandemic.

It’s also important to think about our unemployed or underemployed friends and neighbors this weekend. May you find gainful employment soon that pays a fair wage. There’s certainly a need for you, too.

According to the Kansas Department of Labor, there are nearly 4,000 more registered nurses needed statewide. It's one of the most in demand professions at the moment. 

The KDOL indicated nursing assistants, licensed practical and vocational nurses, retail salespersons and customer service representatives are also needed in spades. Food service workers are needed. Plenty of restaurants across the state are feeling the workers shortage and has led to reduced hours and longer wait times.

The Department of Labor is ready to help Kansans find a job too through its KANSASWORKS site.

“We're anxiously awaiting, and we're ready to be available to serve people who need help,” Cheryl White, the northeast Kansas regional operations manager for KANSASWORKS, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “Probably the most requested service is help with resumes, creating their resumes.”

The labor shortage isn’t unique to Kansas. And if we had a solution, we’d certainly offer it. In the meantime, we want to offer encouragement to those on the job hunt, those working in understaffed environments and those looking to hire new employees.

To everyone else in the spirit of Labor Day, practice a little more patience and understanding the next time you see a stressed frontline worker. So many of us right now are just doing the best we can. We’re persevering. And isn’t that truly the American way?