These facts have a vital relation to the problem of vocational training. If the great majority of the children who will later enter wage-earning occupations do not remain in school beyond the end of the compulsory attendance period, and in addition over half fail to complete even the elementary course, vocational training, to reach them at all, must begin not later than the seventh grade, and if possible, before the pupils reach the age of 14.
INDUSTRIAL TRAINING FOR BOYS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
In Chapter III the distribution of the wage-earners of the city was outlined, mainly for the purpose of establishing a basis on which to make a forecast of the future occupations of the children in the public schools. Such a forecast is essential as the preliminary step in any plan of vocational training to be carried out during the school period, for the reason that without it a clear understanding of the principal factors of the problem is impossible. The kinds of vocational training needed by children in school, and how and where such training should be given, must always depend in the first instance on what they are going to do when they grow up.
The average elementary school in Cleveland enrolls between 350 and 400 boys. When they leave school these boys will scatter into many different kinds of work. With respect to the future vocations of the pupils, the average school represents in a sense a cross section of the occupational activities of the city. It contains a certain number of recruits for each of the principal types of wage-earning pursuits. A few of the boys will later enter professional life; many will take up some sort of clerical work; a still larger number will be employed in commercial occupations; and the largest group of all will become wage-earners in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits.
The future occupation cannot be foretold accurately with respect to any particular boy, but we do know that, whatever their individual tastes and abilities, the boys must finally engage in activities similar to those in which the adult born native male population is engaged, and in approximately the same proportions. We do not know, for example, whether Johnny Jones will become a doctor or a carpenter, but we do know that of each 1,000 boys in the public schools about seven will become doctors and about 25 will become carpenters, because for many years about those proportions of the boys of native birth in Cleveland have become doctors and carpenters.
One of the most impressive facts which comes to light in the study of occupational statistics is the constancy in these proportions. The business of any community requires certain kinds of work to be performed and the relative amount of work required and consequently the relative number of workers vary but slightly over a long period of time. This principle is illustrated in a striking way by the list of occupations selected at random presented in Table 7, showing the number of persons engaged in the occupations specified among each 100 male workers at two successive census years.