Training for the sewing trades consumes more material than any other kind of vocational training. For this reason economical administration requires some arrangement for marketing the product. During the latter part of the course the school should be able to turn out first-class work. The familiarity with trade standards the pupils obtain through practice on garments which must meet the exacting demands of the buying public has a distinct educational value. The Manhattan Trade School for Girls in New York City and other successful schools in the country operate on this basis. There is reason to believe that there would be little difficulty in making arrangements with the clothing manufacturers in Cleveland to furnish a good trade school as much contract work as the classes could handle.
From one-fourth to one-fifth of the girls in the school will later enter employment in commercial and clerical occupations, as stenographers, typists, clerks, cashiers, bookkeepers, saleswomen, and so on. Their needs will be considered in Chapters XII and XIII, in which the findings of the special reports on Boys and Girls in Commercial Work and Department Store Occupations are summarized.
A relatively small number will become semi-skilled operatives in industrial establishments, such as job printing houses, knitting mills, and factories making electrical supplies, metal products, and so on. As a rule such work requires only a small amount of manual skill or deftness. Not much training is needed and it can be given quickly and effectively in the factories.
About one-ninth of the girls in the school will enter paid domestic or personal service of some kind. The household arts courses probably meet the needs of girls who may be employed in such occupations as far as they can be met under present conditions. The woman domestic servant occupies about the same social level as the male common laborer, and a course which openly sets out to train girls to be servants is not likely to prosper. The load of social stigma such work carries is too heavy. At some time in the future it may be possible to ignore the traditional and universal attitude of our public toward the so-called menial occupations sufficiently to consider training servants. At present such a possibility seems remote.
Very few of the army of young people who become wage earners each year take up the occupations in which they engage as the result of any conscious selection of their own or of their parents. They drift into some job aimlessly and ignorantly, following the line of least resistance, driven or led by the accidents and exigencies of gaining a livelihood. They possess no accurate or comprehensive knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of different types of wage earning occupations, and frequently take up work for which they are entirely unfitted or which holds little future beyond a bare livelihood.