« PreviousContinue »
by the cold, clear light of the past, before we decide that they are fit for the ordeal of the future and will prove a benefit to mankind.
We must, to the utmost degree, develop our human efficiencies, but keep in mind always that social values are of greater importance than the productivity of units of trade. Devices for purposes of exploitation of the workers, reducing costs, and increasing output can not and will not be accepted as creators of social efficiency.
Vocational schools must undoubtedly yield, to a certain extent, to the demand for more specific preparation for the work of the world. On the other hand, it is equally certain that business and industry must yield to the demand for better adjustments to the physical, intellectual, and moral needs of the workers.
The chief difficulty in the recent past to the establishment of industrial schools has been (1) the lack of data regarding occupations and (2) the lack of that intimate relationship of cooperation between the shop and school so necessary to insure success. This intimacy of relationship must be permanently established and maintained if progressive efficiency is to be the goal.
Industrial education in any community, if it is to be efficient, must be at least as progressive as are the industries of that community, but the school authorities ought not to remain content to follow the industrial development of the community. Industrial education should not be content to follow, it should aim to direct industrial development. The data of industrial education include not only the data relating to the shops located in the community, and to the employments and processes of those shops, but include in addition data relating to the industry, data, that is to say, which are national and international in scope.
KIND OF FACTS TO BE GATHERED.
A systematic inquiry regarding occupations and processes in those industries which are established in the community, and with reference to which industrial courses in the public schools are organized, must be made in order that courses may be developed in conformity with the best practice in the industry.
The industrial character of a community is determined by a process of selective evolution. Indutries develop in any community in competition with other communities largely in proportion as the environment is favorable for development. This selective evolution. may be a blind natural process, dependent upon unenlightened effort, or it may be the result of enlightened and directed effort. In either case the industrial character of the community will be unique and peculiar to that community. This does not, of course, mean that all of the occupations and industries of the community will
differ materially from the occupations and industries of other communities. It means that the degree of development of each industry will be determined by local conditions. It will certainly be determined in part by accident. Industries may develop in a community by virtue of the momentum of development in the past. An industry happens to be initiated in a community, and, simply by virtue of the fact it has been established, it develops unless there are unfavorable local conditions.
The important consideration is that the degree of development of the industries established, as is the case in every large city, whether determined by accident or by natural economic conditions, is unique and peculiar. Since it is unique and peculiar, the educational needs of a community can not be determined in any other way than by a survey which is organized to determine for that community precisely what is its own peculiar industrial character, and especially to determine in what respect its industrial character differs from that of other communities. The final object, therefore, is to define precisely the industrial character, to emphasize especially the qualities of industrial conditions, and to provide a basis for making industrial eduaction in the community as unique and peculiar as is the industry itself.
PRESENT INDUSTRIAL INEFFICIENCY.
Our present processes are inefficient and wasteful, and we suffer great loss from incomplete production, due to want of skill. We pay little or no attention to the human element in industry, and much less to the experimentation for correct standards. Men are assigned to this machine or that machine, to one process or another, and left to toil without any well-defined notion of how the volume of their output will balance with the output of other men operating other machines or engaged in other processes. There is little information at hand to indicate whether individual workmen are efficient or whether they are performing their tasks by the shortest possible cuts. Training for industrial efficiency, if it is realized that the human element must be considered, will make of every worker grounded in the science of industrial processes an experimenter for improved methods. It offers an opportunity for research into industrial processes that will make every worker a research student, instead of a devitalized and deenergized automaton.
One purpose of industrial education should be to teach the best usage and practice, as well as processes in the industry; in a word, to teach the industry to the community as well as to the youth who are to enter the industry. When an industry is following obsolete methods the purpose of industrial education should be to be aggressive in establishing modern methods and the most approved shop
practice, both as regards manufacturing processes, the organization of the working force, and the division of labor.
The present needs of industry, viewed from their economic aspects only, may be summarized in part as follows:
1. A greater investment of labor power and skill in the finished product.
2. A readjustment of relationship between employers and employees, which involves a cooperative effort by employers and employees for productive efficiency.
3. Relief of the workers from the deadening monotony of employ
4. An educational system that will develop initiative, independence, imagination, and self-reliance.
AIM OF SURVEY.
The aim of any survey in part must be:
1. To prove the necessity of a knowledge of industrial and school conditions in the making of a program for industrial education in a municipality.
2. To show the kind of facts about industry and about the schools which need to be gathered.
3. To develop a proper method for studying the industries and the schools for the purposes of industrial education.
4. To give publicity to a knowledge of industrial and school facts and conditions which must be considered in the economic development of a permanent and constructive program of industrial education.
Since vocational education is a local issue, it must be adapted in its contents and method, as well as in its organization and administration, to the social, industrial, and educational conditions of the community.
Assuming that it is the business of the community to educate and equip for life all the youth of the city, it is also the business of the city to insure scientific guidance into useful vocations. It is just as important to assure the proper application of the training, through fitting the individual to the right occupation, as it is to provide the training itself. The public conscience is being awakened, and it will no longer do to leave boys and girls to the vicissitudes and moral dangers of chance employment, to the certain disappointment of a job without a future, or the handicap of exploitation by private enterprise. It is apparent that education and training, unsupplemented by opportunity for employment which assures the proper utilization of the training, is a tremendous economic waste.
The scope of an industrial survey in order to be complete must include an analysis of the major portion of the mechanical and manufacturing industries, the building trades, transportation, heat, light, and power transmission.
A comprehensible survey must be the work of professionals, not of amateurs. It may be laid down as a fundamental principle that the successful achievement of any survey is conditional upon professional service. The preparation of schedules, the gathering of data, the tabulation work, and the final editing and organizing of the material for the report require professional service.
The work is of a special character, requiring a special sort of training and experience. Efficiency as a survey investigator is not primarily a matter of natural ability. It may be freely admitted that in any community there are connected with the public schools a sufficient number of men and women entirely competent, so far as regards natural ability to make a survey, but it is highly improbable that there should be available in any community a group of men and women possessed of the special training and experience required by survey work. In the nature of the case no community can maintain a group of survey experts, since no community has yet adopted the policy of making a survey at frequent intervals.
In this connection, however, it may be noted that something in the nature of a permanent survey organization should be maintained by every industrial community, and one purpose of every initial general survey should be to develop a local organization for the maintenance of a permanent survey.
The objects of such a permanent survey are obvious. They are: First, to extend investigations to industries not covered by the initial survey; second, to gather regularly each year, by a systematic inquiry, data regarding new processes and occupations instituted within those industries which are established in the community, and with reference to which industrial courses in the public schools are organized; third, to gather data regarding the development of new industries in the community; fourth, to maintain intimate relationship of cooperation between the shop and the school.
This intimacy of relationship can not be permanently established by one general survey made at any given time, or even by a succession of general surveys made at more or less infrequent intervals. It can be maintained only by a permanent local organization, which shall be constantly employed in gathering new data in the shop.
The information concerning trade groups and occupations is secured through two types of schedules: (1) The establishment schedule and (2) the individual schedule.
(1) The establishment schedule, secured from employers, covers the following important points:
Products of the different establishments.
Busy and slack seasons in the industries.
Difficulties in securing competent workers in specific occupations, with reasons.
Years of experience necessary to reach minimum wage.
Relative demand and supply for skilled and unskilled labor.
Frequency and line of promotion from occupation to occupation.
Shifting of workers from process to process to give wider experience and training.
Opportunities for untrained beginners in specific occupations.
Relative efficiency of foreign and domestic trained workers.
Relative instability of employment of trained and untrained workers.
Conditions affecting the welfare of the worker.
Character of instruction received by workers in the shops.
Relative advantage of indentured and unindentured apprenticeship.
Character of apprenticeship agreements.
Relation of general school training to efficiency.
Extent of the educational deficiencies of beginners.
Types of schools and kind of training necessary in the judgment of employers to increase the efficiency of workers.
Willingness of employers to cooperate in part-time schooling.
Kind of part-time schooling favored.
Practical tests used in determining the efficiency of applicants and workers. The following "establishment schedule," used in the Richmond survey of 1914, illustrates more fully the scope of this type of schedule:
Name of firm‒‒‒‒‒
VOCATIONAL SURVEY OF RICHMOND, VA.
[NOTE. All information furnished in this questionnaire will be held strictly confidential and used only for the purpose of determining the kind of industrial education which will best meet the needs of persons engaged in the specified trades of Richmond, Va.]
[INSTRUCTIONS.-Please fill in all blanks and return as soon as possible to Charles H. Winslow, director vocational survey, Administration Building, 805 East Marshall Street. Where space for reply is insufficient, please give information on separate sheets by referring to the number of question answered.]
Name of person to whom future inquiries may be addressed :
PART I.-General information.
1. What are your specialties?
2. Number of employees other than office help:
(a) At present time
(b) Maximum number in service in 1913