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The Making of a Trade School Part 4

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The Manhattan Trade School has depended for its support entirely upon voluntary contributions. There have been few large donations and the donors represent all cla.s.ses of the community--patrons of and workers in sociological, economic, philanthropic, and educational fields, employers of labor, and auxiliaries of many kinds of workers organized for special purposes. The most significant help, perhaps, and the largest in proportion to its income, has been that of the wage-earners themselves--not only the girl who has benefited by the instruction, but the general ma.s.s of women workers. These women, knowing the difficulties in their own struggle to rise, have shown themselves willing to set apart weekly a small sum to help young girls to attain quickly efficiency through systematic training. The auxiliaries of wage-earners are a mainstay of the school on account of their helpful enthusiasm, their practical suggestions, their interest in girls trained there, and their regular subscriptions on which the Board of Administrators can depend.

PART IV

OUTLINES AND DETAILED ACCOUNTS OF DEPARTMENT WORK

The Faculty and Staff

The original staff of the Manhattan Trade School, 1902-1903, consisted of a Director, an Executive Secretary, 4 supervisors (Operating, Dressmaking, Pasting, and Art), 5 instructors and forewomen, 4 or 5 a.s.sistants and occasional workers, a janitor, and 2 cleaners. The present staff, 1909-1910, consists of (1) _Office Administration_, 11: Director, Executive Secretary, a.s.sistant Secretary, 2 Stenographers (office and placement), Placement Secretary, Investigator, Business Clerk, Buyer, and 2 a.s.sistants (records, telephone, etc.). (2) _Teaching Force, Supervisors, and a.s.sistant Supervisors_, 7: Dressmaking, Dressmaking workroom, Electric Operating, Millinery, Novelty, Physical Education, Art. _Instructors, Teachers, and Forewomen_, 11: Academic, 2; Dressmaking, 3; Operating, 5; Art, 1. _a.s.sistants_, 14: Dressmaking, 7; Novelty, 3; Operating, 1; Physical Education, 2; Art, 1. (3) _Doctor._ (4) _Care of Building_, 7: Engineer, Janitor, Machinist, Cleaners 2, Elevator boy, and Night watchman.

ADMINISTRATION

Admission Requirements

I. Age: fourteen to seventeen years. The law requires a child to remain in public school until fourteen. The Manhattan Trade School has found that under fourteen a girl is too immature to specialize in trade work, and that over seventeen most girls are too mature to fit into the work planned for the majority of the cla.s.s.

II. Public School Grade: 5-A or above. The subject matter of 5-A grade or its equivalent is required by the state before a child can leave to work. If for illness or other good cause a girl has not made this grade, she is admitted to the Trade School with special permission of princ.i.p.al of last school attended, and, while studying her trade, the necessary amount of schooling is made up to her by special cla.s.ses and coaching.

The Board of Health recognizes this subst.i.tute.

Grade of girls admitted since beginning is shown in following table:

GRADE UPON LEAVING SCHOOL

-----+-------+-------+-------+---------+--------+----------+------- | Below | Fifth | Sixth | Seventh | Eighth | Graduate | High | Fifth | Grade | Grade | Grade | Grade | Per | School | Grade | Per | Per | Per | Per | cent. | Per | Per | cent. | cent. | cent. | cent. | | cent.

| cent. | | | | | | -----+-------+-------+-------+---------+--------+----------+------- | | | | | | | 1902 | 8 | 19 | 35 | 26 | 2 | 10 | 0 | | | | | | | 1903 | 11 | 18 | 19 | 29 | 6 | 15 | 2 | | | | | | | 1904 | 6 | 11 | 15 | 25 | 16 | 25 | 2 | | | | | | | 1905 | 7 | 15 | 19 | 19 | 17 | 19 | 4 | | | | | | | 1906 | 8 | 16 | 20 | 23 | 17 | 13 | 3 | | | | | | | 1907 | 7 | 10 | 25 | 23 | 15 | 18 | 2 | | | | | | | 1908 | 4 | 15 | 26 | 20 | 13 | 16 | 6 | | | | | | | -----+-------+-------+-------+---------+--------+----------+-------

During 1908, 143 older women were admitted to a special workroom opened for the "unemployed."

III. Filing of working papers is required of girls under sixteen.

1. No girl under sixteen can work in New York unless she has an Employment Certificate issued by the Board of Health, and then only from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., or for eight hours daily.

2. The public school last attended by the girl is responsible for her until she is sixteen, or has her working papers, or is dismissed to another school. If dismissed to Manhattan Trade School her attendance there cannot be made compulsory, and she may attend a few days and then leave and work illegally. Our facilities for following up such cases are limited. With her working papers on file we know she is not evading the law, and can dismiss her to work if she is not a success in trade lines of training.

3. Exceptions: Lack of proper birth record, on account of foreign birth or failure to make record of it by officials, may prevent the obtaining of an Employment Certificate. A special provision is made by the Board of Health in such cases, and, pending adjustment, the girl is admitted upon notice of date of future issuance.

IV. Reference: Some reliable person's name is required of each applying student, in order to have some one to communicate with in case of difficulty of any kind.

V. Application in person: Each girl fills out an application blank giving name, address, and birthplace of self, father, and mother, public school attendance, previous trade experience, if any, trade desired, reference. This must be written at the school, for the manner in which it is done is a large part of test for admission.

Times of Admission

The school year begins in July, but a girl is admitted any Monday when there is a vacancy in the department she wishes to enter. The following table gives record of yearly admission:

-------------------------+-------- | Nov. 2, 1902 (first day) | 20 | Rest of 1902 | 93 | 1903 | 139 | 1904 | 193 | 1905 | 239 | 1906 | 328 | 1907 | 433 | 1908 | 689 | 1909 | 517 | |-------- | Total | 2,651 | -------------------------+--------

Some of these students did not remain long enough to take a thorough training, for home demands made even a small wage imperative, and the girl had to join the ranks of earners ill prepared. Some were not adapted to trade conditions, and soon fell out by the way. Many persisted until they took more than the average twelve months' course, and went into business at a proportionately higher wage.

Records

I. Attendance: 1. Daily, Monday to Friday inclusive. The factory method of time cards punched by a clock upon entrance and leaving has been adopted as being most exact, businesslike, and time saving. It registers the exact time when rung, and so indicates tardiness as well as absence.

2. Weekly. A small filing card ruled for fifty-two weeks summarizes the daily record of time cards and requires the marking attendance only once a week. This file is subdivided into departments and again into cla.s.ses, so that the statistics of enrollment are easily gathered.

II. Individual records: 1. Upon admission a record card is started for each girl, no matter how long she may attend. This contains (1) the data given upon the application blank copied in detail; (2) Student Aid, if given, amount, date, and remarks.

2. Upon leaving, entries are made on the same card of (1) date and cause of leaving; (2) record in different departments--Art, Academic, Trade, and Health; (3) certificate--kind, record, date. This is not granted until the pupil has proved satisfactory in her trade both in the school and in business; (4) Trade Record--upon the reverse side of the card is the "record in trade after leaving school," with columns for date, employer, kind of work, wages, remarks. This is kept up by the Placement Secretary by frequent visits and letters, and gives the basis for many valuable deductions as to the practical results of the training.

III. Other records kept in departments are (1) Student Aid: application and information; (2) Health: examinations upon entrance and future reexaminations; (3) Department: records of each girl as she pa.s.ses from cla.s.s to cla.s.s, such as "att.i.tude," speed, and skill.

Length of Year

The school is in session forty-eight weeks each year, four weeks being given up to one-week vacations at Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. The summer session is the beginning of the regular work, and not a unit for summer training. No one is admitted for the summer only, as the time is too short for real trade standards to be approached.

Tuition

The tuition is absolutely free. The Manhattan Trade School aims to reach the poorest girl who has little chance to advance rapidly unless some one gives her a lift. In order to do this most effectively it is sometimes necessary to a.s.sist her. (See the report of the Student Aid Work.)

Choice of Trade

A girl upon application can select the trade into which she wishes to go. If after a month's trial she proves competent, she is allowed to continue; if not, she is advised to change to another department or to seek employment in work not taught at the Trade School. If a girl has no choice of trade because of ignorance of possibilities, she is shown the kinds taught and given a chance to make a selection. If then she is undecided, she is advised to take what seems best adapted to the time she can spend and the type of girl she appears to be.

Business Management

However simple a school is, some bookkeeping is necessary, and when with the running of the school is combined the management of trade order supplies and receipts the problem becomes very complicated. (See Trade Order Work.)

I. General: A system of up-to-date bookkeeping of General Ledger, Invoice Book, and Daily Exhibit, with details worked out in Petty Cash and Maintenance Books, has been adopted. These few simple books so distribute accounts of expense and receipts that one can soon see the standing of the whole school or of a single department. All bookkeeping is centralized in one office, except the taking of orders and the details of filling them, which must be in the hands of the department concerned.

II. Departmental: 1. Requisition blanks for purchases made. 2. Order blank and duplicate for order given by customer. 3. Time slips, wherever possible, to get exact record of time value of work done. 4. Material slips, to keep account of what has gone into any orders. 5. Final billing, to give data for bills sent out from main office and duplicate filed there for final records.

THE POWER MACHINE OPERATING DEPARTMENT

Aim

To train girls to work on sewing machines run by electric power and to put a thinker behind every machine as its operator. The department hopes by awakening intelligent interest in the tool, _i. e._, the machine, to kindle ambition in the workers. It is only through the intelligent use of the tool and consequent love of work which follows that we can look forward to supplying the skilled machine workers of the future. This training must be given while the girls are in the formative period, to develop habits of thought and action which will counteract the bad effects upon the worker that follow division and subdivision of work, with consequent subdivision of ability, which takes place in all factories today. When a pupil has been thoroughly trained in the intelligent use of her tool, when she has learned to construct complete garments, if she is then, through force of circ.u.mstances such as modern production entails, compelled to carry out one process on the machine indefinitely, or to make one part of a garment, she still holds the balance of power in being prepared to do something else when opportunity or necessity demands.

General Steps in Training

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