A Report on Vocational Training in Chicago and in Other Cities
Chapter 3: Conditions in the Skilled Industries of Chicago and the Attitude of Employers
To ascertain the need for industrial education as shown by conditions in the skilled industries of Chicago, and as shown by the attitude of the employers toward industrial schools, the following schedule of questions was sent to employers in selected industries in the city:
1. From what source do you obtain your skilled employees-employees of high-grade skill, and of medium or low-grade skill?
(a) Are they trained in your own establishment?
(b) Are they obtained from other sources?
If so, what are these sources?
2. Do you have difficulty in obtaining or in training skilled employees?
3. Do you have difficulty in obtaining or in training employees to act as foremen or department heads?
4. Would the efficiency and future opportunities of your employees be increased if they received a training between the ages of fourteen and sixteen in a general public industrial or preparatory trade school which aims to give a knowledge of materials, shop mathematics and fundamental industrial methods, and some ideas of industrial organization, but does not teach a special trade?
5. Would practical day trade schools, giving a specialized and intensive training of one year or more after the age of sixteen, help to meet the problem of skilled employees in your business?
6. Would practical evening or half-time schools be of value in helping unskilled workers, or those of low-grade skill, to advance to positions requiring high-grade skill?
7. To what extent could your business be advanced if more skilled workers were available, and if greater industrial or business intelligence prevailed among foremen or department heads?
8. Total number of employees in the manufacturing department male ; female
Number of employees under sixteen years of age male ; female
EMPLOYEES OF LOW-GRADE SKILL
9. Number of employees of medium or low-grade skill, operating one machine, or carrying on one process, requiring small degree of skill male , female
Weekly wages of this class, not counting overtime
Highest Male; Female
Lowest Male; Female
Wages of greatest number Male; Female
10. Number of employees being trained for work in this low-grade class under the age of eighteen years: male ; female
EMPLOYEES OF HIGH-GRADE SKILL
11. Number of employees of high-grade skill with knowledge of all processes, or a number of processes, or high skill it one process
male , female
Weekly wages of this class, not counting overtime:
Highest Male; Female
Lowest Male; Female
Wages of the greatest number Male; Female
12. Number of employees being trained for work in this high-grade class under the age of eighteen years: male ; female
13. If you have a system of training employees for skilled work or for supervisory work, please give some description of it
The industries selected for investigation were on the whole those requiring a comparatively large amount of skilled work. In addition, the packing houses were included because of the importance of this industry in Chicago, although it requires a relatively small amount of skill. One manufacturing confectionery, one wall-paper mill, and one mail-order house were also canvassed, and are included in some of the following table under the heading " miscellaneous."
As a rule those establishments were selected, in a given industry, which employed the largest number of persons. Reports were
44) received from 181 establishments, having 111,606 employees, classified in ten industrial groups, as follows:
|Number of establishments||Number of employees|
|1. Industries employing mainly women||36||1,591||4,092||5,683|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products||49||49,222||4,863||54,085|
|4. Contractors and builders||17||5,326||32||5,358|
|5. Furniture, office fixture||10||4,330||356||4,686|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing .||11||279||118||397|
|8. Packing houses||7||19,911||1,778||21,689|
|9. Pianos, musical instruments.||4||1,16-1||78||1,242|
Method of obtaining reports
Except a few establishments visited by the committee's representative, the reports were obtained by correspondence. The Chicago Association of Commerce, through the chairmen of its various trade sub-divisions, assisted in selecting the industries to be canvassed. These chairmen were intimately acquainted with conditions in their own trade sub-divisions and were therefore able to give reliable information as to the largest establishments in their own sub-divisions and as to the firms employing the largest percentage of skilled workmen. This information was secured by the committee's representative in a personal interview with the chairmen of the subdivisions
Each letter addressed to firms in the Chicago Association of Commerce was accompanied by an official letter from the Association urging the attention of employers to the schedule of questions. A personal letter from the chairmen of the trade sub-divisions or from other individuals closely associated with the firms addressed was also sent in practically all cases. In addition a general statement of the purpose and scope of the investigation was enclosed. The replies received represent about 55 per cent of the number of firms addressed.
To give a glance at the general results of the investigation, the replies from the 181 establishments are summarized in Tables 8, 9, 10, and 11, below. The detailed figures are presented in Tables 12 to 18, inclusive.
Table 8 shows that 41.1 per cent of the employees are in the class of low-grade or medium skill, and 27.7 per cent are in the highly skilled class. The number reported as unskilled is 31.1 per cent of the total.
|Male||Female||Total||Total employees in establishments answering the questions (See Note 3)||Per cent of total employees|
|Number under 16||530||684||1,214||99,141||1.2|
|Number under 18 being trained:|
|(a) low-grade skill||864||784||1,648||.......||2.2|
|(b) high-grade skill||886||274||1,160||.......||1.5|
|Number of skilled employees:|
|(a) low-grade skill||29,898||6,875||36,773||. . . . . . .||41.1|
|(b) high-grade skill||22,403||2,407||24,810||.......||27.7|
|Number of unskilled employees||22,070||5,680||27,750||89,333||31.1|
That few children under sixteen years of age are wanted in the skilled industries of Chicago and that few under eighteen are being trained for skilled work is shown by the following argument, assuming the firms in Table 8 to be fairly representative, in these respects, of the skilled industries of Chicago.
From Table 8 the number of children under sixteen is 1.2 per cent of the total number of employees. The population of Chicago between fourteen and sixteen years of age is more than 4.9 per cent of the total population fourteen years of age, and over. The ratio of 1.2 to 4.9 is less than 1/4. It is, then, safe to say that, of the age-group fourteen to sixteen, the skilled industries employ less than one-fourth of the persons available to those industries under a normal5 distribution of age-groups.
Similarly, the number under eighteen being trained is 3.7 per cent of the total number of employees. The population in Chicago between fourteen and eighteen years of age is more than 9.1 per cent of the total population fourteen years of age, and over. The ratio of 3.7 to 9.1 is a little over 2-5. It is, then, safe to say that, of the age-group fourteen to eighteen, the skilled industries are training oily a little over two-fifths of the persons available to those industries under a normal' distribution of age-groups. This is for positions of low-grade skill as well as for positions of high-grade skill. For the latter positions alone, the number under eighteen being trained (1.5 per cent of the total employees) is less than one-sixth of the persons available under a normal distribution of age-groups.
According to Table 9, 74.7 per cent of the firms report difficulty in obtaining or in training skilled employees, and 63.1 per cent report difficulty in obtaining or in training foremen.
|Yes||No||Per cent "Yes"|
|Question 3||106||62||6 3.1|
As a somewhat definite measure of the degree of difficulty experienced in obtaining skilled employees, 93.7 per cent of the firms report (Table 13, page 52) that their business could be advanced in amounts varying from 10 to 100 per cent, or more, if more skilled workers were available. Fifty-eight per cent of the firms train few or none of their own skilled employees (Table 14).
That industrial schools for the years fourteen to sixteen would be of value to the industries is asserted by 88 per cent of the firms (Table 10). The number of employees in these establishments is 101,449, or 91.9 per cent of the total. Ninety per cent, having 93.398 employees, are in favor of trade schools after the age of 16 ; 86.4 per cent favor evening schools.
|"Yes"||"No"||Per cent "Yes"|
|No. of establishments||Total employees therein||No. of establishments||Total employees therein||Of the establishments||Of the total employees|
It is interesting to compare the replies of Chicago employers to questions 2, 4, 5 and 6 with the replies to the same questions of nearly 900 employers in similar industries in the State of New York.' Table 11 shows that the percentage of employers reporting difficulty in obtaining skilled employees (question 2) is very much greater in Chicago than in New York State. The percentage of I employers favoring the three types of industrial schools (questions 4, 5 and 6) is also, in each case, much greater in Chicago. Since the State of New York has deemed it necessary to establish a system of industrial schools under State subsidy, Chicago is, by comparison, somewhat backward in making provisions to meet the greater need and to respond to the more favorable attitude of employers toward industrial schools.
Report of New York State Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1908, Part I, p. 14 ff. In this comparison the New York industries included are: metals, wood, printing, clothing, building. The industries omitted from the Chicago investigation are: packing houses, miscellaneous. The questions used for the comparison are the same in both investigations.
|Per cent "Yes"|
|Chicago||New York State|
The detailed results
Table 12 shows the supply of skilled labor and the weekly wages most frequently paid, classified by industries. The data on the supply of skilled labor are obtained from the answers to the following two questions
Question 2. Do you have difficulty in obtaining or in training skilled employees?
Question 3. Do you have difficulty in obtaining or in training employees to act as foremen or department heads?
|INDUSTRY||Number answering||Weekly wages most frequently paid||No. of establishments not reporting|
|Question 2||Question 3|
|Low-grade skill||High-grade skill|
|Total number of establishments replying (181)|
|1. Industries employing mainly women (36)||30||6||19||12||m. 8.00-$15.00||$15.00-830.00||9|
|f. 5.00- 15.00||8.00- 24.00|
|Embroidery, children's dresses, dry goods specialties (9)||
|1||5||3||m. 8.00- 10.00||15 .00- 18.00|
|f. 5.00- 9.00||8.00- 12.00|
|Hats, gloves, fur goods (3)||3||.....||2||......||m. 8.00- 12.00||15.00- 30.00||...|
|f. 5.00- 9.00||10.00- 12.00|
|Men's neckwear, shirts, hosiery, underwear (7)||3||4||1||4||m. 8.00- 12.00||15.00- 18.00||......|
|f. 6.00- 8.00||10.50- 14.00|
|Cloaks, suits, waists (5)||5||.....||4||1||m. 10.00- 15.00||20.00- 26.00||2|
|f. 10.00-||14.00- 24.00|
|Factory millinery (6)||5||1||2||3||m. 15.00-||18.00- 22.00||2|
|f. 6.00- 15.00||15.00- 20.00|
|Paper boxes (6)||6||.....||5||1||m. 9.00- 15.00||15.00- 21.00||2|
|f. 6.00- 9.00||9.00- 14.00|
|2. Men's clothing (9)||6||2||7||1||
m. 8.00- 10.00
|f. 7.00- 9.00||15.00- 19.00|
|Wholesale manufacturers (5)||3||2||5||......||m. 9.00-||18.00- 20.00||3|
|f. 9.00-||15.00- 18.00|
|Tailors to the trade (4)||3||.....||2||1||m. 8.00- 10.00||19.00- 23.00||2|
|f. 7.00- 9.00||17.00- 19.00|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products, conveyances(49)||
|14||28||20||m. 10.00- 18.00||16.50- 22.00|
|f. 6.00- 9.00||8.00-- 11.0()|
|Machine and engine construction, car building, foundry, steel works, ornamental iron (21)||11||9||12||8||m. 12.00- 18.00||17.00- 20.00||5|
|Electrical apparatus, gas and electric fixtures, automatic machines (9)||8||1||5||4||m. 10.00- 13.00||17.00- 22.00||. . . . . .|
|f. 6.00- 9.00||9.00- 11.00|
|Automobiles and accessories, wagons, farm implements (19)||15||4||11||8||m. 10.50- 15.00||16.50- 21.00||4|
|f. 7.25- 8.50||8.00- 10.00|
|INDUSTRY||Number answering||Weekly wages most frequently paid||No. of establishments not reporting wages|
|Question 2||Question 3|
|Low-grade skill||High-grade skill|
|4. Contractors and builders (17)||11||6||10||6|| m. 10.80- 17.00||16.20- 30.00||6|
|General construction of buildings and electric power plants, docks (10)||7||3||6||3||m. 13.00- 17.00||27.00- 30.00||6|
|Bridge and other steel structural work (3)||2||1||2||I||tn. 10.80 11.40||16.20 17.8(1|
|Excavating, wrecking and roofing (4)||2||2||2||2||m. 12.00- 17.011||
|5. Furniture, metallic beds, office fixtures(10)||7||3||4||5||m. 11.00- 15.00||15.00- 19.50||1|
|6. Printing (35)||30||5||24||10||m. 8.50-15.00||20.00- 28.00||6|
|f. 6.00- 10.00||12.00- 18.00|
|Job and newspaper printing (20)||18||2||36||3||m. 10.00- 15.00||20.00- 22.50||5|
|f. 6.00- 10.00||12.00- 18.00|
|Engraving, electrotyping, embossing, lithographing (15)||12||3||8||7||m. 8.50- 15.00||20.00- 28.00||1|
|f. 6.00- 9.00|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing (11)||9||2||10||.....||m. 8.00- 10.00||20.00- 25.00||1|
|f. 6.00- 7.00|
|8. Packing houses and allied industries (7).||2||4||2||4||m. 10.50- 12.00||15.00- 25.00||1|
|f. 6.50- 12.00||7.50- 14.00|
|9. Pianos and musical instruments (4).||3||1||1||3||m. 10 . 50- 13 .00||18 .00- 19 .00||. . . . . .|
|10. Miscellaneous, including one manufacturing confectionery, one wall paper mill and one mail-order house (3) .||1||2||1||1||Insufficient data||.||.|
|Total for questions 2 and 3||133||45||106||62|
|Per cent "yes" for questions 2 and 3 . . . . . . . . .||74.7||63||.1|
|m. 8.00- 18.00||15.00- 30.00|
|Lowest and highest of all the averages given . .||. . . . .||. . . .||. . .||. . . .||f. 5.00- 15.00||7.50- 24.00||.|
The totals in Table 12 show that 74.7 per cent of the establishments have difficulty in obtaining skilled employees, and that 63.1 per cent have difficulty in obtaining foremen or department heads.
In only three of the industries do a majority of the firms answer " no " to question 2 ; men's neckware, etc., packing houses, and the three miscellaneous establishments. To question 3 a majority answered " no " in only five industries; men's neckwear, etc., millinery, furniture, packing houses, and pianos.
The greatest difficulty in obtaining skilled employees and foremen is found in printing, industries employing mainly women, jewelry, and men's clothing (Table 12a). The group of contractors and builders shows considerable difficulty in obtaining foremen.
|Rank of groups on question 2||Rank on question 3||Why wages|
|Low-grade skill||High-grade skill|
|1. Printing ...||3||m. 8.50-15.00||20.00-28.00|
|2. Industries employing mainly women||5||m. 8.00-15.00||15.00-30.00|
|3. Jewelry manufacturing||1||m. 8.00-10.00||20.00-25.00|
|f. 6.00- 7.00|
|4. Pianos||10||m. 10.50-13.00||18.00-19.00|
|4. Men's clothing||2||m. 8.00-10.00||18.00-23.00|
|f. 7.00- 9.00||15.00-19.00|
|5. Iron and steel||6||m.10.00-18.00||16.50-22.00|
|f. 6.00- 9.00||8.00-11.00|
|6. Furniture||8||m. 11.00-15.00||15.00-19.50|
|7. Contractors||4||m. 10.80-17.00||16.20-30.00|
|8. Miscellaneous||7||. . .||. .|
|9. Packing houses||9||m. 10.50-12.00||15.00-25.00|
An examination of the wages paid in the high-grade skilled class shows, in a general way, that the industries of higher rank on question 2 pay the higher wages for this class of employees. In the low-grade class the inverse relation predominates. It can not be said, therefore, on the basis of these reports, that the greater difficulty of obtaining skilled employees in certain industries is due to the lower wages paid.
A somewhat definite measure of the degree of difficulty experienced in obtaining skilled employees is furnished by Table 13 which gives the answers to the following question:
Question 7. To what extent could your business be advanced if more skilled workers were available, and if greater industrial or business intelligence prevailed among foremen or department heads?
|INDUSTRY||Number answering question 7 by:||Not answering the question|
|"amazing degree" "vast" "unlimited" 100 percent or more||"very much" "greatly" 50%-100%||"some" "considerably," "materially" 10%-50%||
|1. Industries employing mainly women (36)||4||8||12||1||11|
|2. Men's clothing (9)||1||1||3||. . . . . .||4|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products (49)||2||12||20||1||14|
|4. Contractors and builders (17)||2||2||9||1||3|
|5. Furniture, metallic beds, office furniture (10) . . .||2||1||3||. .||4|
|6. Printing (35)||1||8||17||2||7|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing(11)||.......||3||3||..||5|
|8. Packing houses (7)||.......||1||2||1||3|
|9. Pianos, musical instruments (4) .....||......||......||4||.......|
|10. Miscellaneous (3)||.......||......||1||2||.......|
|Total (181) _||12||36||74||8||51|
|Per cent of total number(130) answering the question||9.2||27.6||56.9||6.1||........|
The totals in Table 13 show that 93.7 per cent of the establishments answering the question believe that their business could be advanced in amounts varying from 10 to 100 per cent, or more, if more skilled workers were available, 36.8 per cent of the establishments believe that the advance would be from 50 to 100 per cent, or more.
That most employers have not trained in their own establishments all, or even a majority of their skilled employees, is shown by Table 14, which gives the replies to the following question:
Question 1. From what source do you obtain your skilled employees-employees of high-grade skill, and of medium or low-grade skill?
(a) Are they trained in your own establishments? (b) Are they obtained from other sources?
|INDUSTRY||Number of firms answering that of their skilled employees they tram in their own establishments|
|1. Industries employing mainly women (36)||6||14||11||3|
|Embroidery, children's dresses, dry goods, specialties (9)||6||1||1|
|Hats, gloves, fur goods (3)||1||2||. . . . . . .|
|Men's neckwear, shirts, hosiery, underwear (7)||1||4||2||..|
|Cloaks, suits, waists (5)||..||1||1||2|
|Factory millinery (6)||2||1||3|
|Paper boxes (6)||3||1||2|
|2. Men's clothing (9)||1||5||3|
|Wholesale manufacturers (5)||. . . .||4||1|
|Tailors to the trade (4)||1||1||2|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products, conveyances (49)||4||18||23||4|
|Machine and engine construction, car building, foundry, steel works, ornamental iron(21)||1||6||14||.......|
|Electrical apparatus, gas and electric fixtures, automatic machines (9)||1||4||4||.......|
|Automobiles and accessories, wagons, farm implements (19)||2||8||5||4|
|4. Contractors and builders (17)||1||4||6||5|
|General construction of buildings, electric power plants, docks (10)||1||2||2||4|
|Bridge and other steel structural work (3)||.......||1||1||1|
|Excavating, wrecking, roofing(4)||........||1||3||........|
|5. Furniture, metallic beds, office fixtures (10)||1||1||8||..|
|Job and newspaper printing (20)||2||1||11||6|
|Engraving, electrotyping, embossing, lithographing 5) . . .||. .||6||8||1|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing (11) . . . . .||1||1||9||. . . . . . .|
|8. Packing houses and allied industries (7)||1||5||........|
|9. Pianos, musical instruments (4) . .||. . . . . . .||1||3||. . . . . . .|
|Per cent of total number (174) of firms answering the question||9.7||32.1||47.1||10.9|
The totals for Table 14 show that 58 per cent of the establishments train few or none of their skilled employees; that only 9.'7 per cent train all of their skilled employees; and that 32.1 per cent train a majority. Corresponding percentages for similar industries in New York State are 59.6 per cent training few or none; 5.5 per cent training all; 33." per cent training a majority.
The rank of the industries with respect to the percentages of firms reporting that they train few or none of their skilled employees is shown in Table 14a.
|No. of Firms reporting||Per cent reporting that they train few or none of their skilled employees|
|Furniture, metallic beds, office fixtures||10||80.8|
|Pianos and musical instruments||4||75 .0|
|Contractors and builders||16||68.7|
|Iron, steel and electrical products, conveyances||49||55 .1|
|Industries employing mainly women||34||44.1|
That the apprentice system does not meet the need for skilled employees is shown by the investigation of 452 establishments in New York State, in industries similar to most of those canvassed in Chicago; 66.8 per cent reported that the apprentice system did not meet the need for skilled employees in their business.
The industrial and social conditions responsible for the failure of the apprenticeship system to train a sufficient number of skilled employees are well set forth in the following quotation from a discussion of this question by Prof. C. R. Richards, Director of Cooper Union, New York City.
(55) The modern organization of industry on the capitalist basis means the employment of numbers of workmen as wage earners whose sole responsibility is the forwarding of the productive tasks assigned to them. Such organization generally also means extended division of labor. It means these things whether hand power or machinery be used in this industry. In the trades where machinery is used, the value of the workman's time for purely productive purposes is increased by the added cost of machine and power. With the entire working force engaged upon production, it is no one's interest to turn aside and instruct the learner, and such instruction, if in any sense comprehensive, can be given in the direct course of production only at a certain immediate loss.
Under these conditions, the employer of to-day, drawing his workmen from the general labor market, that in some cases is largely fed by immigration, no longer feels the same individual necessity and responsibility for the training of beginners and hesitates to assume the cost and inconvenience of such a provision. The maintenance of a thorough apprenticeship system having become exceptional, imposes in a sense a penalty upon the manufacturer who undertakes it, inasmuch as he has no guarantee that apprentices will remain in his employ. Furthermore, the great subdivision of labor that characterizes all modern industries on a large scale imposes peculiar difficulties in the way of a thorough and comprehensive training, inasmuch as such a training involves a shifting of the apprentice from one branch to another that lessens his productive value. All these conditions make the employer slow to assume the trouble and expense of a thorough apprenticeship system. The tendency is more and more to place the beginner upon certain special branches at the tools and let him develop as quickly as possible into a productive unit
On the other hand, as pointed out above, the journeyman under ordinary conditions has no interest or advantage in the training of an apprentice. His first consideration is, of necessity, his own wages, and especially in those industries that are upon a piece-work basis, the journeyman has no time for teaching; furthermore, he is apt to look upon the apprentice as a future rival who will add to the supply of skilled workers and reduce his own chance of employment.
Another difficulty, and a very large one, that faces the apprenticeship question is the unwillingness of the American boy to submit to a long period of training at low wages for the sake of future opportunities. The tendency of the American boy is toward a short cut; he resents the rules and restrictions of the apprenticeship period and turns to openings that yield larger immediate returns. That this attitude is justifiable and natural in many cases where the so-called apprentice is given practically no assistance toward attaining a really broad training, and where he is left largely to chance and his own initiative to pick up anything more than the rudiments of a trade, must be conceded. This attitude is only removed when the apprentice feels that his interests are being cared for and a systematic effort is being made to open up a future worth working for. That it is removable is satisfactorily shown in those instances where provision is made for systematic training and technical instruction on the part of the employer.
(56) Another cause that holds back a bright boy from the apprenticeship is the low wages paid. Whereas the journeyman's wage has been advanced in most of the skilled trades under the influence of organization, the wages of the apprentice have not advanced in proportion to the demand for young men in the industries. Organized labor, with its mind almost solely upon the advancement of the standard of living, and the employer, with his mind almost solely upon the increase of profits, have neither been concerned to advance the wage of the apprentice, and with no influence to press them upward these wages have remained extremely low.
Owing to these many conditions, apprenticeship in the sense of a broad and thorough training of the first-class workman has given place in many establishments and in many of the industries where it formerly prevailed to a so-called apprenticeship that trains in only a narrow range of work and fits only in some special line of skill. In such apprenticeship systems the period of training is much shorter than in the older form and very often no age restrictions are imposed. Such systems figure to quite an extent in . . . the machine woodworking trades, in the manufacture of gas and electric fixtures, in some branches of boot and shoe manufacture, in garment making and in the manufacture of cigars.
The helper system is another important channel through which beginners enter the skilled trades. The helper takes various forms in the various trades, but in general he supplies the relatively unskilled help needed to carry forward the work of the skilled journeyman. In some industries, as in certain of the building trades, he appears as an unskilled mature laborer that rarely advances to the grade of a skilled worker. In others he is represented by a younger class, below the journeyman, called juniors, improvers or helpers, who may be in regular succession to the skilled positions. In other cases, as in the machine shop, the helper is a "handy man" who performs odd jobs and in general the less skilled kinds of work such as finishing and filing. Such helpers have an opportunity to watch the operations of the journeyman and to become acquainted with his work, and where the conditions admit, the brighter and more progressive advance to the positions of skilled workmen.
One other general method under which skilled workers for the industries are recruited applies more or less to all industries in which great division of labor obtains. In such industries beginners are generally put at first at the simpler operations, and as they show ability and application are advanced to somewhat more difficult processes or the manipulation of less simple machines. This advancement may continue up to that particular point in the organization beyond which the capacities or ambition of the worker are not sufficient to carry him. This system of developing skilled workers obtains in most women's trades, such as clothing, millinery and laundries, in the boot and shoe manufacture and in textile mills, and is found more or less combined with other systems of training in all other industries where much division of labor obtains.
Table 15 shows the attitude of employers on industrial schools, as revealed by the answers to the following three questions:
Question 4. Would the efficiency and future opportunities of your employees be increased if they received a training between the ages of fourteen and sixteen in a general public industrial or preparatory trade school which aims to give a knowledge of materials, shop mathematics, and fundamental industrial methods, and some idea of industrial organization, but does not teach a special trade?
Question 5. Would practical day trade schools, giving a specialized and intensive training of one year or more after the age of sixteen, help to meet the problem of skilled employees in your business?
Question 6. Would practical evening or half-time trade schools be of value in helping unskilled workers, or those of low-grade skill, to advance to positions requiring high-grade skill? (Remark. Question 6 was interpreted by practically all employers to refer to evening schools only.)
|Table 15 REPLIES TO QUESTIONS CONCERNING INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS, BY INDUSTRY|
|INDUSTRY||Question 4||Question 5||Question 6|
|Total employees therein||No.
|Total employees therein||No.
|Total employees therein||No.
|Total employees therein||No.
|1. Industries employing mainly women(36)||29||5,201||3||482||27||5,067||3||507||27||5|
|2. Men's clothing (9)||5||2,465||1||1,400||6||3,865||. ...||8 .||..|
|3. Iron and steel(49)||44||53,236||2||741||45||45,347||2||8,630||45||4|
|4. Contractors and builders (17) . . . . ..||12||5,178||1||180||12||5,178||1||180||14||3|
|5. Furniture, metallic beds, office fixtures(10)||9||4,446||1||240||7||2,055||1||450||8||1|
|6. Printing (35)||27||2,964||7||2,125||26||3,800||7||659||2.5||7|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing (11)||11||397||.||10||380||.||9|
|8. Packing houses (7)||5||18,189||1||3,500||5||18,189||1||3,500||6||1|
|9. Pianos and musical instruments (4).||3||1,073||1||169||4||1,242||. ..--||4||..|
|10. Miscellaneous (3) .||3||8,300||2||8,275||1||125||1||2|
|Per cent of number of establishments answering "yes"||88.0||90.0||86.4||.......|
|Per cent of total employees in establishments answering "yes'||91.9||87.0||.....||......|
The rank of the industries, in the order of the per cent of the number of establishments answering " yes " to questions 4 and 5 is as follows
|Rank on question 4||Rank on question 5|
|4.||Industries employing mainly women||4|
Table 16 gives the number of employees of medium or low-grade skill, the number of high-grade skill, the total number of employees, and the per cent of the total force in the two skilled classes.
|INDUSTRY||Number of skilled employees||Total employees in establishments answering the questions||Per cent of total force in skilled classes|
|Low-grade skill||High-grade skill||Total both classes|
|1. Industries employing mainly women (26)||330||1,372||366||761||2,829||1,144||3,256||64|
|Embroidery, children's dresses, dry goods specialties (6)||55||261||100||196||612||213||5'ĪR||80|
|Hats, gloves, fur goods (3)||25||52||27||1.9||152||55||115||81)|
|Men's neckwear, shirts, hosiery underwear (6)||14||22||74||3119||419||128||600||57|
|Cloaks, suits, waists (3)||56||80||51||28||215||149||195||62|
|Factory millinery (4)||8||55||74||117||254||105||650||33|
|2. Men's clothing (3) .||154||153||566||292||1,165||720||445||100|
|Wholesale manufacturers (2)||150||150||430||180||910||580||330||100|
|Tailors to the trade (1)||4||3||136||112||255||140||115||100|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products and conveyances (42)||22,679||4,356||10,784||491||38,310||42,430||4,856||81|
|Machine and engine construction, car building, foundry, steel works, ornamental iron (18)||3,697||25||5,960||6||9,688||17,731||33||54|
|Electrical apparatus, gas and electric fixtures, automatic machines (9)||7,223||3,002||2,389||318||12,932||9,685||3,319||99|
|Automobiles and accessories, wagons, farm implements (15)||11,759||1,329||2,435||167||15,690||15,014||1,504||94|
|4. Contractors and builders (10)||1,329||1,588||8||2,925||3,176||32||91|
|General construction of buildings, electric power plants, docks (3)||1,117||1,175||2,292||2,292||2||99|
|Bridges and other steel structural work (3)||169||375||544||780||69|
|Excavating, wrecking, roofing (4)||43||38||8||89||104||30||66|
|INDUSTRY||Number of skilled employees||Total employees in establishments answering the questions||Per cent of total force in skilled classes|
|Low-grade skill||High-grade skill||Total both classes|
|5. Furniture, metallic beds, office fixtures (9)||723||2,754||253||3,730||3,880||356||88|
|6. Printing (32)||670||416||2,545||450||4,081||3,715||1,088||84|
|Job and newspaper printing (18)||396||278||1,812||428||2,014||2,424||770||90|
|Engraving, electrotyping, embossing, lithographing (14)||274||138||733||22||1,107||1,291||309||72|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing (9)||71||115||71||1||258||261||118||68|
|8. Packing houses and allied industries (5).. .||3,330||388||2,282||127||6,127||13,411||1,028||42|
|9. Pianos and musical instruments (4)||487||50||622||24||1,183||1,164||78||95|
|10. Miscellaneous, including one manufacturing confectionery, one wall-paper mill and one mail-order house (2)||125||25||825||. . . . . .||975||4,470||3,705||11|
|Total, male and female||36,773||24,810||61,583||89,333||.68.9.|
|Per cent of total force in each skilled class||41.1||27.7 7|
The totals for Table 16 show that 68.9 per cent of the employees are in the two skilled classes, only 27.7 per cent, however, in the high-grade skilled class.
The rank of the ten groups of industries with respect to the percentage of employees in the highly skilled class is given in Table 16a.
|Per cent in highly skilled class||Total employees in establishments answering these questions|
|1. Men's clothing||73||1,165|
|6. Industries employing mainly women||25||4,400|
|7. Iron,steel||23||47 ?86|
|9. Packing houses||16||14,439|
Table 17 gives the number and per cent of employees under eighteen years of age being trained for positions of medium or lowgrade skill, and for positions of high-grade skill.
|Industry||Number under 18 being trained||Total employees in establishments answering the questions||Percent of total force|
|Low-grade skill||High-grade skill||Total both classes|
|1. industries employing mainly women (24)||55||584||29||98||766||4,240||18.0|
|2. Men's clothing(3)||27||10||15||-||52||1,150||4.5|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products (41)||418||33||260||-||811||47,286||1.7|
|4. Contractors and builders (11)||100||-||18||-||118||3,208||3.6|
|5. Furniture, metallic beds, office fixtures(9)||36||2||106||40||184||4,236||4.3|
|6. Printing (32)||124||83||274||50||505||4,173||12.1|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing (9)||2||6||11||-||19||379||5.0|
|8. Packing Houses (4)||81||50||85||75||291||9,424||3.0|
|9. Pianos and musical instruments||21||16||14||11||62||1,242||4.9|
|Total male and female||1,648||1,160||-||-||-|
|Percent of total force in each skilled class||2.2||1.5||-||-||-|
The totals for Table 1'7 show that the number of employees under eighteen years of age being trained for positions in the two skilled classes is 3.7 per cent of the total working force. For the highly skilled class the number is 1.5 per cent of the total force.
Table 18 gives the number and per cent of employees under 16 years of age.
|INDUSTRY||Number of employees under 16||Total employees in establishments answering the question||Per cent of total employees|
|Male||Female||Male and Female|
|1. Industries employing mainly women (31)||40||357||397||5,383||7.3|
|2. Men's clothing (8)||71||164||235||5,087||4. 6|
|3. Iron, steel and electrical products (46) ..||24||.....||24||49,285||0.0004|
|4. Contractors and builders(13)||......||.....||.......||5,358||0.0|
|5. Furniture, metallic beds and office fixtures (10)||49||.. 49||4,686||1.0|
|6. Printing (34) .||185||111||296||5,089||5.8|
|7. Jewelry manufacturing(11)||2||6||8||397||2.0|
|8. Packing houses (5)||11||.....||11||14,439||0.0007|
|9. Pianos and musical instruments (4)||16||11||27||1,242||2.1|
|10. Miscellaneous (2)||132||35||167||8,175||2.0|
The number of children under sixteen years in Chicago's skilled industries is almost zero, just above one per cent. These children are receiving no training. The industries that are giving any sort of training for high-grade skill affect only one-sixth of the group of children between fourteen and eighteen, and for both low-grade and high-grade skill the industries are training only two-fifths of the children of that age.
Three-fourths of the firms replying find difficulty in obtaining or training skilled employees, and a little lower percentage report
65) difficulty in training or obtaining foremen; nearly sixty per cent of the firms train few or none of their own skilled workmen.
Practically all admit that their business would be advanced if more skilled workers were available. For this reason nearly ninety per cent believe that industrial schools of different types for the years between fourteen and eighteen would be of value to their concerns.
The percentage of employers in Chicago finding difficulty in obtaining skilled laborers is greater than those reporting in the New York State inquiry, and a larger percentage favor industrial schooling of different types.
The indication of this report is that the firms which feel the need of more skilled labor are offering higher wages, so that the scarcity of skilled labor is not due to relatively low wages. Referring to the New York report we find that nearly seventy per cent of the firms replying stated that the apprenticeship system does not meet the need for skilled employees. What is true in New York in this respect is true in Chicago.
Beyond question Chicago's industries need and demand industrial training during the years when that training can be profitably given, that is during the years between fourteen and eighteen, and this need is being met neither by the industries themselves, nor by the apprenticeship system, nor as yet by the schools.
Comments of individual employers
The schedule of questions submitted to employers contained the statement that suggestions would be welcome on any of the questions or on the general subject. In response to this statement, the following comments were received. All the comments, which were of significance one way or another, are here included, classified by industries.A. Industries employing mainly women
1. We employ about 300 girls in our factory here and have difficulty at times to obtain sufficient trained operators. We believe an industrial school for girls would be a great help to manufacturers here. We would go further, and recommend that commercial training schools for boys and girls be established. It is becoming more difficult all the time to obtain sufficient and efficient office help. We think it would be a very valuable thing to have schools for both purposes, for the office as well as for the factory. In some of the foreign countries the trade schools are a great help, not only to the merchants but to the young men who are obliged to attend them.
2. We find that not being able to get girls and boys at fourteen to work in our shop we are shut out of their efforts at a time in life when they are most susceptible for the grasping of the details of business and readily learn what is required. But at sixteen the young employee has not benefited by the last two years in school and his mind is full of little things that detract from his application and ofttimes he is downright bad at heart and cannot or will not apply himself to his work with an idea of making a success of same. Usually the first question asked by a boy of sixteen is the amount of wage he is to receive, and if same seems to be sufficiently large to cover his fancied needs he will accept the position without any regard to whether he cares for the kind of employment or any desire to become a skilled fur worker.
This holds more with boys than girls, but think both would be greatly benefited if they could be put to work at fourteen years in clean, sanitary, high-class workshops under just and upright employers.3. We have great trouble in obtaining skilled employees, and owing to this we were compelled to open branches in other cities.
A practical trade school for boys and girls sixteen years of age would be the greatest help to become artists in our line, for which there is a great field. Enlightenment of any kind will advance positions very materially in our line.
4. The only wad- in which we see an industrial training in the public schools could directly benefit the cloak and suit trade would be to teach the girls how to handle a needle, as it is surprising the number we get who do not know the first rudiments of sewing.
We believe, however, anything which tends to give a practical and industrial education is a good thing for manufacturing trade in general.
B. Men's clothing
1. We educate the people who come to us to sew; we educate pressers, button-hole makers, cutters and, in fact, employees in every department of manufacture. Very few of these people have had any other education except a few years in the graded public schools.
There is some difficulty in obtaining the right class of men to act in executive capacities, such as foremen and heads of tailoring shops. For example, we have offered excellent opportunities in these positions, but before a man can competently manage a shop he must first become a tailor. The man of college education will not undertake it, for he considers the form of work necessary for his practical education to be beneath his dignity. The men who are now filling the positions of foremen and superintendents are those who have graduated from the ranks of the practical workman without other education than that received from us in the shops where they were previously employed.
We believe in industrial education and are convinced that the efficiency and opportunities of employees are greater if they are schooled between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. People who have not had any education do not rise, except in rare cases, above mediocrity. With further education they will undoubtedly rise much higher on the average.
2. There can be no question about the great benefit our industries would derive from trade schools, combined with elementary schools for boys and girls, such schools to take up the studies which the graduates from the grammar schools receive in the first year of the high school. This would take in the boys and girls from fourteen to sixteen years, the average age when they complete the grammar grades.
Separate trade schools, in my opinion, should be established for each particular industry, superintended by a board of directors composed of manufacturers in that branch of industry and managed by one or more good, practical foremen, such foremen to be paid a fair salary, and the expenses of the school to be met by amoral contributions of the manufacturers in that branch of industry. The tailoring industry would give all possible assistance.
In view of the fact than in many instances, these boys and girls of fourteen to sixteen years of age contribute to their own support, or that of the family, the foreman, with the consent of the board of directors, may allow the advanced pupils to be paid for work done which may be sent in by the manufacturers, provided, however, that such work shall in no case interfere with the elementary studies.
C. Iron and steel product
1. We have also 500 men in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and carry on and support special training two weeks alternating _n shop and high school. System has been tried one year and is liked very much.We are moving away from Chicago on account of our difficulty in securing skilled employees.
2. In over twenty years, we have had a great many college men in our employ. Very few of there however, remained. It was too slow a process for them to work in and become a part of our organization. The plan of giving alternate weeks to factorywork and college study comes pretty nearly being ideal. The boys accomplish nearly as much in study as if they had given all their time to it, and when they get through they are not suffering from the enormous handicap of having the wrong point of view. The boys we are using on this plan are very useful in the factory, and I foresee much greater usefulness from them as time goes on. They are getting science with practice, and avoid the monotony of too much of either. I believe the scheme is the b--; that has yet been proposed, and that the boy who makes his way through a technical institute on this plan will have found an exceedingly pleasant and profitable way, which gives great promise for the future.
3. The trade school would help, but the cooperative shop and school course, as introduced by National Metal Trades Association three years ago, would be better, giving " commercial " conditions.
4. We have tried a great many experiments with boys and young men in our plant, and, with possibly two exceptions, they have all been more or less failures.
We have noted that with the advent of moving picture shows, pool rooms and other amusement enterprises, there is a large field for young fellows to pick up a lot of fairly easy money. Of course their experience prevents them from seeing that these positions are at the best temporary, and do not tend to building them up for a solid business future. The result is that the average young man gets disgusted in a business that offers but a few dollars a week to start, and we are, therefore, up against the proposition of constantly changing our help.
We tried out the Lewis Institute experiment very thoroughly last year with three or four boys and they all fell down.
We think that the trouble goes back a little further than to the boys' schooling. A large percentage of them make very bad starts right in their own homes.
5. In one of our plants in another city we have made it a practice for many years, to secure at least a few of the graduates of the Williamson Training School each year. These boys are started at $12 a week, which is considerably more than they are worth, to begin with, but they demonstrate very quickly the value of their preparation, and furnish us material, not only for the higher classes of machine and pattern work, but also for sub-foremen and foremen. One advantage of the training which the boys in the Williamson School receive is, that it develops no false ideals, and when the boys graduate they look for their future in the shop, and are willing to take their chances as greasy-handed mechanics.
It has been my experience that many of the graduates of schools that really are no better than trade schools feel themselves too good to be mechanics, and look for advancement in the drafting room, and other of the white collar departments.
At Chicago, at the present time, we are availing ourselves of a special course provided by the Lewis Institute, and four of our boys spend alternate weeks at the Institute. We have found it a little difficult to keep these boys interested, and if this system fails, it is because it will be difficult to keep up the boys' interest when part of the time is spent in the shop, and part at school.
The difficulty of getting promising material in Chicago is very much larger than it is in the Fast, and we should be very glad to cooperate in any manner to assist in training boys at the critical age, so that they may become efficient members of the craft.
6. We have four boys at Lewis Institute, two alternating each week. We also are starting an instruction school to make our men better all-around mechanics for future use in the general work of our product.
7. Yes, we have difficulty in obtaining and in training skilled employees, mainly because of their lack of fundamental education and inability to properly plan their work.
8. Trade schools would not help unless there were mathematics and mechanical drawing connected with such a school, because in the average shop where they go to learn their trade, they get the practical training in
(69) the use of tools and machinery, and I believe such training is better, and more thoroughly given in the shop than it can be in the average school.
9. Trade schools would not help, because we think they had better start to work at sixteen; otherwise they do not want to commence at the bottom and so would not learn the trade thoroughly.
l0. Yes, it is hard to get a skilled mechanic to act as foreman; they hate to assume the responsibility.
11. Our experience has been that the young men of the city who come here from the public schools have little or no idea of industrial methods or of shop practices and ice believe that if these young men were given some mechanical training they would be in a far better position to develop themselves or at least be more susceptible to our training in actual manufacturing work.
If there were such a day trade school which would supplement the work of the higher grammar grades and first grades of high school it would to a very great extent help in supplying the demands for skilled workmen and would in our judgment greatly facilitate the power of development in young men, placing them where they would be able to attain positions of greater trust and importance. We find that those young men who have had opportunity to give even a short time to any of the few manual training schools now in existence in this city develop much faster in our business and can be used in a greater variety of positions by the fact of .having this manual training education. Many young men start in manufacturing plants and learn just one operation, such as running a drill press or a milling machine, etc., or learn one line of bench work, but cannot help themselves because of a lack of efficiency and of ambition, due to an inability to read specifications and interpret blue prints, thus being barred from high grades of work and from executive positions in the manufacturing world.
The practical evening trade schools are of considerable importance and do a great deal of good, but do not in any way provide a sufficient number of semi-skilled young men to fill positions of importance in our works. If the number of these trade schools could be increased, they could in a great way assist in supplying the large demand for help of this kind.
12. Our contracts with the labor unions require us to give the officials of each union the opportunity to furnish each new man for the craft controlled by each respective union. We are required to give union officials from twenty-four to forty-eight hours notice before a man is hired. If they do not furnish a man in that time we are privileged to secure him elsewhere, provided that he is willing to join the union, or else we must dismiss him as soon as the union is able to furnish a man.
We have the privilege of rejecting men proffered by the union whom we consider to be undesirable, but on the other hand are frequently inconvenienced because of our not being able to get men on account of their unwillingness to join the union, and in some cases because of the unions not being willing to admit them into their organizations. This tends to keep a great many high grade men out of our factory who might otherwise be employed. Many union men are decidedly high grade, but there are also many who are
(70) very medium to whom we must pay high wages in order to obtain sufficient men to turn out our work
In some departments we are not allowed by the unions to use the apprentices on work which really teaches them anything.
It is difficult in departments which are unionized to take a man from the ranks and make him a foreman, because of the labor unions. All gang bosses and assistant foremen and inspectors must be members of the union and it is rather difficult for a man in these positions, from which the foreman should be drawn, to be sufficiently loyal to the company to secure a promotion to the position of foreman, without incurring the disfavor of his fellow members in the union.
The training in a trade school should not be so intensive that it will lower the boy's ideals and make him anxious to use what he has learned to make as much money as possible right away instead of simply using it as a guide to obtain more experience and deeper knowledge, with the expectation of being paid therefor in later years.
D. Contractors and builders
1. There is room for vast improvement in the skilled workmen and the main trouble lies in the iact that there is no apprentice law governing the length of time for serving in any trade. Most of the boys now learning trades in the building line are sons of men now at the trade and it is their aim to get their sons in possession of a membership card in order to get the higher wages, without serving the apprenticeship necessary to make them a finished mechanic. Consequently they never get to be more than a rough workman, as they have reached as high a standard as they seem to care to attain, which is the scale demanded by the union.
In regard to the trade schools would say that this has been tried by the contractors in my line before, and we found great difficulty in getting the boys to attend. I think the same amount of time spent in actual attendance of the work in the trade they wish to follow would prove to be much better than that spent in a trade school.
2. But while we have a well organized and efficient corps of the skilled employees needed in our tugging, dredging and other marine and sub-marine work for which we are contractors, our experience is that there is a noticeable lack of younger skilled men coming along in these lines, practically all of which, as well as all other labor lines covered by our requirements, are strongly unionized.
And this scarcity of these younger skilled men our observation leads us to believe is largely attributable to a disposition on the part of the older mechanics to afford the younger ones little opportunity and aid in acquiring the experience requisite to the acquisition of the degree of ability of the elders.
3. We need foremen who have a better general education and a wider outlook.
4. There is a movement on foot at this time by the Electrical Workers to instruct their men more carefully in several branches of the electrical business, they having purchased instruments, switchboard and testing appa-
(71) -ratus, which cost something over $1,000, and they are requiring their membership to go to certain set meetings and be instructed and to listen to lectures on different branches of the electrical work, as could be covered by the apparatus which they have furnished, all of which we think is going to be of material benefit to our men, and if a school as suggested by you were to be established, and we could persuade the men to go, it would be one of the best things possible to do.
5. We have no right to expect others to train our help for us, and if each employer would give time and assistance to train his own help, we would have all that would be required.
6. The writer believes it is more important for a young man to realize early in life his responsibility as a future citizen, than it is to get a lot of information out of books. There is a time in the life of every boy, when he wants to be a man, and do a man's work; if this ambition is provided for at that time, he becomes a good citizen; but, if by laws or otherwise, it is defeated, it is uphill work to get the habit later on.
1. A child should be in school at this age (fourteen to sixteen). Our schools should teach elementary trade work, thereby teaching the child toward work, instead of away from it, as now.
2. No. Such a school (preparatory trade school, fourteen to sixteen years) would be likely to make the boy careless and indefinite. Such a school should be a special trade school, teaching a definite trade a part of the time.
3. The union scale kills competition in skill as all receive practically the same wage for a given department.
4. The vital point of the whole matter is that where labor unions control a trade or control individual offices they will not allow enough apprentices to be instructed to take care of the ordinary demands of that trade, and they will not take into their unions men who have received instruction otherwise than as the apprenticeship conditions of the different unions provide.
While a theoretical knowledge of general mechanics from the ages of fourteen to sixteen will be of decided benefit to anyone wishing to learn a trade, the good workmen in all trades are produced from men who acquire their trade in a shop in actual practice, and good workmen generally are made from those who were obliged to earn their living at an early age and have never had the opportunity of attending any trade or technical schools after they are sixteen years of age.
5. As a rule the union supplies inferior men, because good workmen are usually steadily employed.
6. It would be a godsend to the printing business to have a school where boys and girls could be taught the business.
7. The labor question is the sore thumb of our business.
F. Jewelry manufacturing
1. Hardly one workman in ten has the skill and taste required for highgrade work. Yes, surely, such a school (fourteen to sixteen) would help. Switzerland, Germany and France have attained high rank for their artisans.
(72) Their workmen are more than mechanics through schools for their early training. Training in drawing, modeling, etc., developing the artistic taste, would prepare them for the factory, or shop, where they get the mechanical training.
Our trade has depended on Europe for skilled workmen. The time has come when we should train them, or we will suffer a lack. We do now. In the busiest season we are much behind our opportunities on this account.
Analysis of the comment of individual employers
While there is considerable difference of opinion here, there are certain uniformities that should be noted.
In the first place there is a general recognition that present schooling has little or no relation to industrial occupations, that in the case of many if not most of the children of Chicago who enter these occupations, it has failed to give standards of efficiency or even adequate general intellectual training.
In the second place there is a general recognition that occupational training in whatever form it is given should be in close relation to trade and shop conditions.
In the third place it is quite widely recognized that in present industry the shop alone can not give adequate trade training, because work is so highly specialized and does not acquaint the apprentice with all processes, thus failing to produce all-round workmen and those who can and are willing to take the positions and responsibilities of foremen.
Finally it is evident that the causes of disagreement between employers and organized operatives make it very difficult if not impossible for them to properly standardize the training of apprentices. Clearly the one who suffers most from this situation is the child who does not receive, during the apprenticeship years, the intellectual and occupational training which he needs.
It-seems evident that if the demands of industry both on the side of the employer and on that of the employed, and at the same time the interests of the child be properly safe-guarded, the shop with its methods must be taken into the school, and that this reconstructed school must set the standards with an eye single to the future of the child, and unbiased by the immediate economic interests of the employer and the union.