Skilled Trades

Celebrating Tradespeople: The History of National Tradesmen Day

Skilled TradesSeptember 01, 2022

September 17 is National Tradesmen Day. It’s a call to celebrate and honor skilled tradespeople for their essential skills and hard work in building America. Tradespeople build our schools, commercial buildings, and homes, construct our roads, repair our cars, maintain our water systems and power grids, and keep our supply chains of goods moving (we learned about their important role during the pandemic). Our country relies on skilled workers to keep the nation’s systems going. Without them, the systems break down. Each year on the third Friday of September, we celebrate our tradespeople. 

What is the history of this day? It was created in 2011 by Irwin Tools, a company that sells quality tools, in an effort to recognize the importance of trade careers and the people who work in them. Skilled workers handle the gritty jobs that sometimes involve dangerous conditions, such as power outages during a flood. 

How can you celebrate this day? Say thanks to the people in your life who work in the trades. These people might include:

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • HVAC installers
  • Truck drivers
  • Automotive mechanics
  • Carpenters
  • Masons
  • Welders

Tag friends and family who work in the trades on social media. Give them a shout-out on September 17 and thank them for their service. 

You probably don’t know it, but a few famous folks got their start in the trades. Women also have their own rich history in the trades. During WWII, 37% of the US workforce was female. Women worked in aviation, munitions, and other roles. 

Henry Ford started out as an apprentice machinist when he moved to Detroit from his parents’ home. Through that apprenticeship, he learned the nuts and bolts that ultimately led to his invention of the first mass-produced automobile.  

Before his famous music career, Elvis Presley got his start as an apprentice electrician. Music was something he pursued in his spare time. The Beatles’ George Harrison also trained as an apprentice electrician after he left school. 

Although not a household name, we can thank Ellen Warren Roebling for the Brooklyn Bridge. She became known unofficially as the chief engineer of the project, managing the daily supervision of the construction to completion after her chief engineer husband became bedridden with illness. He had taken over the project from his father who had designed the bridge and then passed away. Thank you, Ellen Warren Roebling, for overseeing the bridge’s completion.  

Before he starred in Star Wars, Harrison Ford was a carpenter by trade. Rather than take acting roles he didn’t want, he learned carpentry to remodel houses and build furniture. It was while building a door for a casting director that he caught the eye of director George Lucas. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

A few other famous people involved in the trades include Sean Connery (bricklayer), Matt LeBlanc (carpenter), Whoopi Goldberg (bricklayer), and Michael Cain (plumber’s apprentice).

Interested in your trade options? Fortis offers programs in 13 states. Visit our website for more information and to find a training program near you. Or, call 1-855-436-7847 to speak with a representative today.