The field investigations consisted largely of visits to industrial establishments for the purpose of securing first-hand information as to industrial conditions and the nature and educational content of particular occupations. Over 400 visits of this kind were made by members of the Survey Staff. Many conferences were held with employers and employees with the object of securing their views as to the needs and possibilities of industrial training.
The task of tabulating and classifying the data obtained by the individual investigators in their visits to the local industrial establishments involved much time and labor. Although it was not found practicable to maintain complete uniformity in the different inquiries, the members of the staff kept in close touch with each other, so that with respect to the points of principal importance, the results of their investigations are comparable. Practically every recommendation made in the reports was discussed in conferences with school principals and with other members of the teaching force engaged in the teaching of vocational subjects.
Throughout the survey the objective held constantly in mind was the formulation of a constructive program of vocational training in the public schools. In outlining the field of inquiry a clear distinction was drawn between those kinds of general education which have a more or less indirect vocational significance, and vocational training for specific occupations in which the controlling purpose is direct preparation for wage-earning. The studies were purposely limited to this latter type of vocational training. The survey did not concern itself with manual training conducted for general educational ends, with the art work of the schools, or with courses in domestic science and household arts. These subjects in the curriculum were dealt with in different sections of the education survey, but were considered as being outside the legitimate field of the vocational survey.
FORECASTING FUTURE PROBABILITIES
The industrial education survey of Cleveland differs from other studies conducted elsewhere in that it bases its educational program on a careful study of the probable future occupational distribution of the young people now in school. It does not claim to foretell the specific positions that individual boys and girls will hold when they are adults but it does claim very definitely that our safest guide in foretelling their future vocational distribution is to be found in the official figures of the present occupational census of the city.
One of the most familiar and time-worn platitudes of educational speakers and writers is that “The children of today are the citizens of tomorrow.” In the field of industrial education it is quite as true that the school children of today are the workers of tomorrow. Moreover, since occupational distributions change but slowly even in these modern times, it is unquestionably true that the boys and girls now studying in the public schools will soon be scattered among the different gainful occupations of Cleveland’s industrial, commercial, and professional life in just about the same proportions as their fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters are now distributed.