In millinery departments in stores, trimmers, who are generally designers, earn from $15 to $50 a week or more. The rate most commonly received is $25. Makers are started at from $4 to $6 and may advance to $15, with an average of about $10.
In wholesale houses designers earn from $25 to $60, or more. Makers start at about $5, and the usual range is from $10 to $15. Those employed in straight copying may earn between $15 and $20. The 1914 report of the Industrial Commission of Ohio presents data showing that of the women 18 years of age and over employed in wholesale houses 37 per cent receive under $8, about 22 per cent receive between $8 and $12, while 41 per cent receive $12 and over. The girls under 18 years of age were, with one exception, receiving less than $4 per week.
Employment in retail shops averages about 32 weeks during the year; in the millinery departments of stores from 32 to 42 weeks; and in wholesale houses about 40 weeks. The proportion of workers employed the year round is very small. The majority of millinery workers are faced with the problem of tiding themselves over two dull seasons, aggregating from 12 to 28 weeks each year.
The millinery apprenticeship period lasts for two seasons of 12 weeks each. Almost all retail shops take apprentices in large numbers, there being one apprentice to every three or four workers in the trade. Few apprentices are found in stores and wholesale houses. The apprenticeship wage is extremely low. The usual rate is $1 a week during the first season and from $1.50 to $2 during the second.
The needs of girls who are soon to leave school and go to work can best be met by a modification of the junior high school course and by the establishment of a one-year trade school for girls. Before a re-organization of the junior high school work is made to meet the needs of these girls an effort should be made to reduce retardation so that more girls will reach the junior high school before the end of the compulsory attendance period. The present courses should be reorganized so as to give basic preparation for wage earning and should be as concrete and real as a thorough understanding of the requirements of the gainful occupations can make them. Thorough sewing courses planned from the standpoint of the sewing trades should be offered, extending over two years. The program suggested closely resembles that recommended for the garment trades.
It is also recommended that a one-year trade school be established for preparing girls to enter employment in dressmaking and millinery. The history of trade schools for girls, both private and public, indicates that such a school, if properly conducted, would be highly successful in Cleveland.
The classes in sewing and millinery in the evening technical high schools do not offer trade-extension training for workers and it is not likely that they could be easily reorganized to furnish such training. It is recommended that if a trade school is established in Cleveland, short unit courses in sewing and related subjects, such as design, be given in evening classes.