Celebrating National Tradesperson Day

Here’s something few people know: Labor Day actually comes twice each year. While the traditional Labor Day honors the dedication of American laborers, our industry takes an extra moment to acknowledge National Tradesperson Day, observed every third Friday in September.


National Tradesperson Day vs. Labor Day


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.”

On the other hand, National Tradesperson Day “honors the people whose skills and hard work build America.”

National Tradesperson Day has been a fixture since 2011. It serves as a dedicated occasion to celebrate the remarkable skills and achievements of those in the construction industry. While Labor Day encompasses all workers, National Tradesperson Day shines the spotlight on plumbers, electricians, masons, carpenters, and countless others.

An excerpt from the National Day Calendar describes perfectly the spirit of this occasion, which dates back to 2011.

“While these experts work day in and out maintaining skills unique to their trade, our nation continues to operate smoothly without pause. The skills and knowledge of those in the trades keep businesses, homes, and entire nations running. Whether walls go up or come down, roads cross rivers, or the water flows, electricians, plumbers, masons, mechanics, carpenters, and everyone in between ensures the job gets done.”



Mastering Skills through Apprenticeship and Expertise


Tradespeople are not your average laborers. A tradesperson, by definition, is someone who has acquired their skills through an apprenticeship of vocational training or education. Their journey involves years of dedication to mastery, earning the respect of their peers and the trust of their customers. With such expertise required to work in this role, its no wonder National Tradesperson Day is a holiday that is here to stay. 


Traditions of Reverence


In days gone by, tradespeople were revered, admired, and respected for their unique skills. In ancient Egypt, tradespeople were classified just a notch below the royal scribes. Even in prehistoric times, tradespeople were placed on pedestals (only figuratively, since pedestals hadn’t been invented yet). According to National Today, “Any person who was able to produce and maintain a fire without burning down the place was given the official role of ‘fire-producing’ tradesmen. (Whether or not this is true, it’s a heck of a story.)


National Tradesperson Day: Honoring the Diverse Skills


Whether erecting an apartment building or a grand infrastructure project, the construction industry heavily relies on the diverse skills of tradespeople. Without them, construction projects are like silent alarm clocks– utterly useless.  Every aspect of a successful construction project, from scheduling to budgeting, depends on the skilled hands of tradespeople.


The Looming Talent Gap


Unfortunately, our industry faces a significant challenge: the retirement of seasoned tradespeople with too few replacements in sight. In fact, the construction industry currently faces a gap of about 500,000 workers, according to Construction Dive. With the demand for skilled labor set to soar, the talent pool remains insufficient to meet this need. The gap is expected to widen as the federal government allocates funds for new infrastructure projects around the country.



The Crucial Role of Tradespeople in Construction


The online Cambridge Dictionary defines a tradesperson as “a person who works in the building industry in a job that involves physical work and a practical skill.” While technically correct, it barely scratches the surface of the value that the modern-day tradesperson brings to a construction project. 

The popular job site Indeed.com lists 17 trades utilized in construction. While not a complete inventory, the list represents the most in-demand skills on any building project. Take away any of them, and you will have a crater-sized hole that would literally bring the industry to a standstill.


Celebrating National Tradesperson Day Year-Round


The contribution of tradespeople goes far beyond their individual skill sets. Their ability to identify material quality, devise time-saving work methods, and provide timely problem-solving make them indispensable assets to any construction company, general contractor, or subcontractor who hires them. 

Both Labor Day and National Tradespeople Day are fitting ways to recognize the contribution of these highly trained, highly motivated professionals. Just remember – you wouldn’t be out of line if you appreciated their impact the rest of the year as well.

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