During World War II, there was a shortage of skilled administrative personnel in the United States due to Depression-era birth-rate decline and booming post-war business. The National Secretaries Association, founded in 1942, was formed to recognize the contributions of administrative personnel to the economy, support their personal development, and to help attract workers to the administrative field. The National Secretaries Association’s name was changed to Professional Secretaries International in 1981 and to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 1998.

The IAAP promotes National Administrative Professionals’ Day. The observance first launched in 1952 when U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer proclaimed June as National Secretaries Week. In that same year, June 4th was designated National Secretaries Day. The name changed to Administrative Professionals in 2000 when the day was also added and the events moved to April. Administrative Professionals’ Day is celebrated on Wednesday of Administrative Professionals Week, which is observed the last full week of April.

According to the IAAP, there are more than 22 million administrative professionals in the United States with hundreds of job titles that qualify as administrative support. Administrative Professionals’ Day now signifies a celebration of the administrative personnel within an office and their valued work. Admins are often one of the few employees in a company who knows the entire business and is expected to understand how the company’s unique business system works.

Today is an opportunity to thank the administrative personnel within your office for their contributions. Ideas on ways to show your appreciation include offering a kind word, giving a gift of relaxation either through paid time off or a gift certificate, offering new professional challenges and opportunities, or encouraging professional development through paid organizational memberships or educational courses.