Many of us don't even think about the vast number of public services that affect us every day--services that keep us safe and healthy, protect us from unscrupulous businesses and polluters, help people in the midst of natural and man-made disasters, and care for the most vulnerable among us. You might not need every service every day, but when you need them, you're glad those services are there!

We at Working Massachusetts have started compiling a sample list of services that many of us take for granted. How many of these services have you used? 

  • Police and firefighters come to help you in an emergency; you don't have to rely on private, paid security or fire services
  • Teachers strive against impossible odds to teach children from a wide variety of backgrounds, preparation, and family situations to be the next generation of responsible, educated residents and workers
  • Nurses tend the sick, the frail, and the elderly, providing both medical care and human support in ever-busier, overburdened medical settings
  • Bus drivers, subway drivers, transit police, and a host of behind-the-scenes workers keep public transportation running in all kinds of weather and traffic conditions so that people can get where they need to go
  • Scientists test your drinking water to ensure its safety and design and implement complex emergency response plans, such as in the April 2010 water main break that affected some 2 million Boston-area residents
  • Engineers inspect your roads, bridges, buildings and other parts of public infrastructure and direct repairs to keep them safe
  • Skilled tradespeople carry out repairs to those roads, bridges, buildings, water mains, and more, often in grueling and dangerous conditions
  • Local and state workers toil in the cold, snow, rain and other difficult conditions to keep your roads passable, drains cleared, and vital services accessible
  • Workers at countless state and local agencies assist and advocate for consumers, the elderly, disabled persons, veterans, and more, helping people cut through information overload to connect them to the help they need most