This year’s first Monday in September marks the 125th anniversary of Labor Day being celebrated as a national holiday, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. As such, it is a day we honor great achievements made by hard-working men and women. From every industry, we thank those Americans who have sacrificed to uphold skill and expertise in their respective field.

Here at the Associated Builders and Contractors Central California Chapter, we pride ourselves on upholding the merit shop philosophy. In a 2018 study, we found that eight million people work in construction, and of those workers, 86 percent choose not to be affiliated with a labor union. This Labor Day weekend, we recognize those who use their skills to build America through free enterprise, open competition and merit.

America’s merit shop construction workers build the hospitals we are born in, the hotels and stadiums that millions of Americans will visit to celebrate the holiday and just about everything in between. In addition, the construction industry has provided fulfilling careers to Americans for generations, and it remains a source of excellent career opportunities and prosperity, perhaps more than ever. Looking forward, the need for skilled construction workers is projected to grow at twice the rate of all other industries.

I encourage educators, families and job seekers, including the thousands of recent high school graduates who are just entering the workforce, to explore the well-paying, long-term career opportunities that exist in the construction industry.

ABC’s 69 chapters offer more than 800 apprenticeship, craft, safety and construction management education programs across the country. ABC members invested $1.6 billion to educate their employees in 2018, up from $1.1 billion in 2013. You can learn more at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CQ_xaAGtJA

As you celebrate Labor Day, take a moment to recognize the dedicated workers who build America and, if you’re looking for a career change, consider looking into a lucrative and fulfilling career in the construction industry.

Joe Carreri, chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors Central California Chapter