Labor Day and Today's Tech Revolution

Close up of construction worker holding hardhat
For most of us, the arrival of Labor Day ¬¬― the unofficial end of summer ¬¬― is bittersweet. Though we’re reluctant to bid farewell to long summer days, naps in the hammock and beach vacations, the promise of crisp fall weather, football and apple-picking has its own rewards.

Given the strong feelings that Labor Day evokes, it’s easy to forget that the holiday has nothing at all to do with the change of seasons. Instead, it has everything to do with the achievements of hard-working men and women, the start of the American Labor Movement and the impact of the Industrial Revolution on America’s workforce.

According to the U.S. Census, “the first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. The parade inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another.” Soon after, Congress passed legislation signed by then President Grover Cleveland designating the first Monday in September, “Labor Day.”

Industrial Revolutions 1, 2 and 3

Though it began in Britain, the first industrial revolution in America is estimated to have taken place between 1820 and 1860.

“Industrialization marked a shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production,” according to “The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles in the Industrial Revolution, which also saw improved systems of transportation, communication and banking.”

The second industrial revolution, which occurred between 1870 and 1914, was a period of tremendous economic and industrial growth spurred by the invention of the Bessemer process, an affordable means of creating steel from iron. Affordable steel was “used to make everything from appliances, tools and machines, to ships, buildings and infrastructure,” says

The third industrial revolution dates back to the mid-1990s with the advent of the internet and the development of renewable energy. We all remember this one!

Fourth industrial revolution

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, we recently entered the “fourth industrial revolution … Developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and genetics and biotechnology are all building on and amplifying one another.” This same report supports an idea that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will work in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

As a result of these developments, the report says we can expect significant changes in the labor market by 2020. Although the revolution will cause job changes for some of us, those with expertise in computers, mathematics, engineering and architecture will enjoy unprecedented opportunities. The onset of technology is apparent across many industries, and it is becoming clear that technological know-how will be a valuable asset more and more each year.
In fact, technological know-how will get you just about everywhere, writes Allison Stadd for The Muse.

“Thanks to technology, jobs are changing as we know them. From FinTech to Fashion Tech, there are so many industries that now allow you to make an impact on something you’re passionate about, using tech as your tool,” says Stadd.

But keep this in mind: Even the most knowledgeable and skilled techies shouldn’t rest on their laurels. With this ever-changing technology, it’s crucial to stay informed about new processes and be willing to update your skills regularly. Those who continue to grow their technical skills will be the victors in the fourth industrial/tech revolution.

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