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C.-STUDIES IN OCCUPATIONS.
LEONARD P. AYRES,
Director Division of Education, Russell Sage Foundation.
Recently we have been conducting a series of studies in the division of education of the Russell Sage Foundation with the object of finding a fact basis for some of our thinking and acting in regard to vocational education and vocational guidance.
One of our investigations consisted of a study of certain facts concerning the 13-year-old boys in the public schools of 78 American cities, and of their fathers. We chose the 13-year-old boys because they are in the last year of compulsory school attendance. They are the ones who under present conditions leave school in large numbers to enter money-earning occupations. The first fact that we learned about these boys was their school grades. We found that they were scattered in every grade, from the kindergarten through the high school. More significant still, we found that one-half of them were in the sixth grade or below. To my mind, the significance of this fact is that the kind of vocational guidance that these boys need is the kind that will keep them in school longer, and the kind of vocational guidance that these school systems need is the kind that will help them to carry such boys as these forward through the grades further and faster. Certainly, the boy who has completed the compulsoryeducation period and is in the third, fourth, or fifth grade is not prepared to enter any money-earning occupation.
Another thing that we found out about these boys and their fathers was where they were born. This inquiry disclosed the facts that among the fathers only 1 in 6 is now living in the city where he was born, and that among the boys only a little more than one-half are living in the city of their birth. These facts seem to indicate that vocational guidance must have a broader outlook than that which relates solely to the local industries; for, if present conditions maintain in the future, one thing that we can be sure of is that many of the young people of any given community will eventually find their life work in some other community.
The next set of facts that we gathered concerning the fathers of these boys related to the industries and occupations by which they earn their livings; and the analysis of these data brought to light the significant fact that there are some occupations common to every community, which we may therefore term "constant" occupations. Other occupations are found in some localities and not in others, and these we may term "variable" occupations. The constant occupations are those that are necessary to maintain the many branches of the enlarged municipal housekeeping that must go on wherever large
numbers of people live together in one place. For example, house painting must be carried on in the city where the house is, while paint may be manufactured anywhere. The baking of bread must be carried on by each community, but crackers can be baked somewhere else and brought into the city.
In making our analysis of constant and variable occupations we enlarged the scope of our inquiry so as to include all of the cities of the United States of more than 50,000 population. We discovered the facts concerning the number of people engaged in each of 140 separate occupations in each one of those cities. As a result we found that there are 20 constant occupations in which the number of men workers is at least equal to 1 for every 1,000 of the population, and 7 constant occupations in which the number of women workers is always at least equal to 1 for each 1,000 of the population. We discovered, for example, that in any city in the United States of 50,000 population you will always find more than 50 barbers, and that in the average city of that size you will find 150 barbers. It so happens that this is the most constant of all occupations, so that if anyone knowing these facts had been able to foresee that Gary, Ind., for example, would be a city of 40,000 population, he would have been able to prophesy ahead of time that the city would employ approximately 120 barbers. These constant occupations, with the number of people engaged in them in the average city, are as follows:
It is almost certain that if this list was brought up to date two, and only two, additional occupations would be included-those of stenographer-typewriter and chauffeur. These occupations include in the aggregate more than half of all the people engaged in gainful occupations in all our cities. These facts appear significant. They
seem to indicate that if all other conditions are equal, vocational guidance should give preference to occupations that are everywhere constant over those that are not.
Our next study consisted of a consideration of certain characteristics of different industries which it would seem fair to take into consideration in deciding whether or not any given occupation holds out such promise to the future worker that it may justly ask the cooperation of the public schools. In considering these tests or criteria for judging industries, we have taken the somewhat unusual position that if any industry is to demand of the public schools, "Train our future workers," the public schools not only may but must ask of the industry, "What have you to offer?" We are looking at this matter from the point of view of the producer and his quality, and not from the point of view of the product and its quantity.
Taking six common manufacturing occupations at random, we asked, first: "What are the current weekly wages paid to adult male workers?" In this comparison we have found the percentage of adult male employees in each of these industries receiving weekly less than $10, the percentage getting as much as $10 but less than $20, and the percentage getting $20 and more. Our object here was to find out whether there was in each industry, in the phraseology of George Ade, "always room and board at the top." Our results were as follows:
Weekly wages in certain occupations.
Percentage of workers receiving weekly
Hours per day.
It is not only important to know how much each worker finds in his pay envelope each week, but we also need to know how long he works each day to fill that pay envelope; so our second question related to the prevailing hours of work. The results are as follows:
While wages and hours of work are of prime importance, the problem of the amount of unemployment during the year must also be taken into consideration; and this we have investigated by finding what proportion of the workers are idle during each of the 12 months.
In judging these industries the factors affecting economic efficiency are of prime importance, but those affecting physical health must not be disregarded. This last item has been studied by finding the death rates per 1,000 employees in each of the industries, with the following results:
Death rate per 1,000 employees. 9.4
We have included one more factor in our series of suggested tests, and that relates to the degree of concentration of the industry. It is important to know whether the industry is one in which the chances of employment are relatively good throughout the country, or one confined to a restricted locality. Taking some extreme cases, we found, for example, that 79 per cent of all the cuffs and collars manufactured in America are made in the small city of Troy, N. Y.; that 87 per cent of all the grindstones are manufactured in the State of Ohio; and 57 per cent of all clothing is made in New York. There are about 20 other important industries that are to a greater or less degree in the concentrated class.
To summarize, some of the larger social, economic, and educational bearings of this problem, as they have presented themselves to us during our investigations, are as follows: If we are to engage in vocational guidance, our first and greatest need is a basis of fact for our own guidance. The kind of vocational guidance that many of our children most need is the kind that will guide them to stay in school a few years longer, and the kind of vocational guidance that our schools most need is the kind that will show them how to carry the children forward through the grades further and faster. Vocational guidance must have a wider horizon than that offered by the local industries. Other conditions being equal, vocational guidance should favor constant occupations over localized ones. Vocational guidance must be prepared to challenge each industry intelligently, and on the basis of ascertained fact, and to demand of it that it show a clean bill of health with respect to such important factors as wages, hours, unemployment, and hygienic working conditions.
II. PRACTICAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND PROFESSIONAL PHASES OF VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE.
A.-LESSONS EUROPE HAS FOR US.
Director of the Vocation Bureau, Boston, Mass.
The different cities of England, Scotland, and Germany, particularly cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, York, London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, have developed a vast machinery of service to tide over the transition from school to work, but it is my impression, after looking over the work with some care, that these communities have become too much engulfed in the transition problem of placement to give sufficient thought at the present time to a lessening of the causes which produce such a rush on the labor exchange. It is not a difficult matter to open an employment office and find jobs; and the fact that there are 400 labor exchanges in England is interesting and important only to this extent, that they have begun to organize the labor market-something we have not done in this country.
So far as there is an organization of the labor market, the work on the other side is praiseworthy. So far as the organization of the labor market has swallowed up the child market for labor without clearly differentiating the peculiar problems of children under 18 years of age, the plan is rather too big to be thoroughly effective from our vocational guidance viewpoint. They content themselves on the other side, particularly in Scotland, with seeing to it that all the children who are given places go to night school, to their so-called continuation schools. Their eagerness for night-school enrollment appears to have made them quite lose sight of a fact which we feel very strongly in America, that the only right time for children to be found in night schools is the day time.
Perhaps this great overdevelopment in England and Scotland may delay certain fundamental policies which legislation alone can effect. Nevertheless, this vast system of voluntary service of public-spirited women-there are 1,500 in Birmingham alone-and these vast nuclei of voluntary committees are educating a certain proportion of the English public to see the child problem in modern industry, and it is to be hoped that one of these days they may unload a good deal of