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My father (QEPD), was a big believer in the opportunities provided by Labor Day.

By “opportunities,” I mean the projects that could be completed by his three sons on a day without the distractions of school and work. Each year, Dad would roust us early and share the list of projects that he hoped we might complete that day.

Don’t get the wrong idea. Dad was the hardest working man I have known in my life. By the time he woke us on Labor Day, he had already been hard at work for a couple of hours. He worked beside us all throughout the day.

For my father, Labor Day truly was an opportunity to work with his sons and catch up on work around the house. It was a day for washing/waxing the car and the boat (the latter being a sore spot for us boys as we had dreams of going to the lake), mowing and edging the lawn, preparing flower beds for the fall, cleaning out the garage, putting in a sprinkler system, and any other project that might be completed by him and his three sons.

Well, Dad, I think you would have been proud of my Labor Day schedule this year.

I started early, working on my new blog.  My goal is to post 3-4 times a week as a way of processing my thinking and activities. It’s really just my own personal writing space, but I’m also creating it as a way to share good writing habits with my English Composition students this semester.

After working on the blog site, I muddled through my daily research. It was a pretty slow day but there were a few items that caught my eye.

I really enjoyed this article on Amazon fulfillment center in New York.  It reminded me of my time at MBS Direct (now part of BNED) and their automated warehouse for fulfilling orders for their many online stores. It also made me think about the growing challenges of workplace automation and the future of employment.

One of these challenges, of course, is the possible displacement of human workers. Another is the impact automation could have on wages. Will human labor become more valued with wages rising, or will wages stagnate as machines take on the majority of tasks at many companies? There’s no way to know for certain.

What we do know, however, is that low wages have a variety of negative impacts on a person’s quality of a person’s life. This is yet another way we must address the problem of hopelessness in our country. Its also a great reason to be working to solutions for affordable education on this Labor Day.

Of course, affordability is just one of many obstacles that make it difficult to provide equitable access to high-quality, college-level learning to everyone in the U.S. This piece on the barriers facing Native Americans in our colleges and universities is just another example of how far we have yet to do.

For anyone who wants to see the other items that caught my eye, you can check out my Diigo feed with all the articles I clip.

The rest of the day, besides running errands with my wife Vicky, was a proper Labor Day’s measure of, well, labor.

QA on our new website.

Check.

Building out the documentation for our Workforce Training curriculum.

Check.

Write two blog posts for the TEL website.

Check

Review questions for the panel discussion at our upcoming Experiential Learning conference.

Check.

Record audio for 10 course videos (Chemistry and Career Foundations).

Check (and enthalpy and electronegativity are definitely tongue twisters for me).

It was definitely a full day. And now onward to the next one.

 

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