The simple principle which underlies the method employed by the survey is the same on which all large business undertakings are conducted. The results of its application in the field of industrial education are, however, fundamentally different from those commonly arrived at on the assumption that nine-tenths of the rising generation will earn their living in industrial pursuits. The fact is that no such proportion of the children in school will become industrial workers. All the native born labor now employed in manufacturing and mechanical industries constitutes only 44 per cent of the total number of native born workers in the city. Moreover, nearly half of the industrial workers are employed in unskilled and semi-skilled occupations for which no training is required beyond a few days’ or weeks’ practice on the job. Such training calls for a mechanical equipment far more extensive than the resources of the school system can provide, and can be given by the factory more effectively and much more cheaply than by the schools.
In the final analysis, the problem of industrial training narrows down to the skilled industrial trades. Approximately 22 per cent of the total number of American workers in the city are employed in skilled manual occupations. This does not mean that a constructive program of industrial education would affect 22 per cent of the present school enrollment. All the weight of educational opinion and experience is on the side of excluding the children of the lower and middle age groups as too young to profit by any sort of industrial training, while the evidence collected by the survey goes to show that of the remainder less than one-fifth of the girls and one-fourth of the boys are likely to become skilled industrial workers.
Considerations like the foregoing have determined the fundamental method of the Cleveland Industrial Survey. Plans for the present generation have been formulated on the basis of future prospects as foretold by state and federal census data. The methods used were characterized by a member of the Cleveland Foundation Survey Committee as “the actuarial basis of vocational education.” This is accurately descriptive, because the method of forecasting the number of men the community will need for each wage-earning occupation closely resembles that employed by life insurance actuaries in foretelling how long men of different ages are likely to live. Such methods are similar to those commonly used in commerce and industry. They deal with mass data rather than with individual figures, and with relative values rather than with absolute ones.
THE WAGE EARNERS OF CLEVELAND
In 1910 Cleveland ranked sixth among the cities of the United States as to number of inhabitants, with a population of approximately 561,000. The city is growing rapidly. From 1900 to 1910 the increase in the total number of inhabitants was over 46 per cent. The Census Bureau estimate of the population in 1914 is approximately 639,000.