The proportion of pupils who graduate is small and the mortality during the first two years is very heavy. This is due in part to the fact that the type of pupil who leaves school early is more likely to elect a technical course than an academic course. About 25 per cent of each entering class drops out after attending one year, and 25 per cent of the remainder by the end of the second year. By the time the third year is reached the classes are greatly depleted and the survivors as a rule are of the more intelligent and prosperous type. Only a small proportion of them expect to enter skilled manual occupations. Table 9 shows the distribution of the third and fourth year students among the different trade courses during the first semester of 1915-16.
Table 9.—Distribution of third and fourth year students in trade courses in the Cleveland technical high schools, first semester, 1915-1916
Electrical construction 68
Machine work 52
Cabinet making 22
Pattern making 12
Foundry work 1
That relatively few of these students will ultimately become journeymen workmen is shown by the records of the boys graduated in the past. The principal of the East Technical High School recently sent a questionnaire to all the students graduated up to 1915, asking for information as to their present occupations and their earnings during the first four years after graduation. Of those who replied, over 60 per cent either were attending college, or employed as draftsmen or chemists. About 28 per cent were employed in the skilled trades. The distribution in detail is shown in Table 10.
The data furnished by graduates as to their earnings during successive years after leaving school supply still more convincing evidence to the effect that the technical school graduate seldom remains in manual work more than two or three years. The complete course gives them an equipment of practical and theoretical knowledge that speedily takes them out of the handwork class. The technical high schools are primarily training schools for future civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers. To the student who cannot afford a college course they offer excellent preparation for rapid advancement to supervisory and executive industrial positions, and for drafting and office work in manufacturing plants.