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for a large number of operators in the manufacture of lingerie, with a range of from $5 to $15 but a usual wage of $8.
It must be remembered, however, that this trade is not one to attract the girl of great ability, but rather the girl of moderate ability or the girl in pressing need of economic independence.
(2) Dressmaking.—But two industries in Worcester offer opportunity for a high grade of skill, dressmaking and millinery. The dressmaking field is restricted from the standpoint of the prospective worker in two ways; first, because of the small number of large shops, and, second, because of the comparatively few highly paid positions, a natural consequence of the small shop. This may, however, be due partly to the dearth of skilled workers in the trade. This dearth of workers has come (1) because of the disappearance of the apprenticeship system as a means of access to the trade, (2) because the dressmaking trade has more of a professional character and necessitates a longer period for training and development, and (3) because of the increasingly higher degree of natural ability and artistic taste required by the trade.
The dressmaking trade is therefore primarily a trade for the girl of natural and artistic taste and the girl without the necessity of immediate economic independence. There are openings for only about 20 young workers, with a year's training, to enter the trade each
at present. The outlook as to numbers and large pay is not, under the existing system, very great, though the availability of trained workers might enlarge the opportunity both for larger numbers and for higher pay. Plain sewers in custom shops or corset factories receive from $6 to $10, a few head waist and sleeve girls range from $12 to $18, and two head waist girls receive $20 and $25, respectively. The beginnings only of specialized work and workers can be seen at present. The large opportunity is distinctly that of the day worker at from $1 to $3.50 per day, and the independent worker, whose wage possibilities can not be discovered. This requires, however, larger experience than is apparently now available through shops.
(3) Millinery.--Millinery, unlike dressmaking, still retains a system of apprenticeship by which young girls can learn the trade. The labor situation, therefore, is less serious than in the dressmaking trade. Millinery, like dressmaking, is primarily a trade for the girl of natural and artistic ability, and even more than dressmaking a trade for the girl without the necessity of immediate economic independence, because of the short seasons. In spite of this fact the millinery trade can choose from many aspirants to the trade.
The shops of Worcester offer opportunity for about 50 new workers annually under the present system and about 200 altogether. The trade has two fairly definite divisions. One, requiring deftness and some millinery taste, employs the majority of workers, called “mak
ers,” who range from $3 to $10. The other, requiring a high degree of artistic sense and skill, offers opportunity for a smaller number, but at a higher wage. The ordinary trimmers range from $12 to $20, though two were discovered at $25, and one in charge of a large force at $45.
The industries in which women are and can be employed in large numbers may be divided into three groups:
1. These are industries in which the processes are so mechanical that but little training is required for their operation, such as the textile mills, the paper industries, and the metal trades. In the paper and metal industries comparatively few young girls are employed. Therefore, their training must have been reached either by remaining in school until they were 16 or 17, or while they were engaged in some of the child-employing industries. For such trades, consequently, the industrial training must either be offered in connection with the regular school work, or in connection with the child-employing industries, as part-time (continuation) instruction or as evening work for the older girl. In the textile industries, however, girls are being employed. Here, also, is the problem of all our great textile centers. Since the industry itself has but little promise for the woman, it would seem that the girls here employed should be given some part-time (continuation) instruction, which would develop greater intelligence in their industry and at the same time a knowledge of those trade processes which would enable them to contribute to their economic welfare in the home, such as the use of the needle and the knowledge of domestic work. This type of evening courses for mature workers is doubtless that which should be given to those who are employed in the other trades (metal and paper trades). Similarly, the mercantile establishments attract 163 girls and afford one of the chief avenues through which girls who will enter other industries later may be reached. If they can not be drawn away for trade courses, they should be taught, as would the girls in the textile industry, through parttime instruction.
2. The second group of industries contains those in which the processes require a larger or smaller amount of skill according to the type of work being done, and for which there is a possibility of fundamental training which shall not only contribute greater intelligence in the less skilled part of the processes, but shall afford a power to advance to the more highly skilled work; such an industry is the machine-operating industry. The training for this industry must always be considered as looking toward a probable mediunt. wage as great as in any of the other industries and toward work far more desirable in character, but at the same time offering a possibility for the more intelligent to attain a wage suitable for highly skilled work.
There are in this industry large numbers of children, as has been shown. The majority of these children do not pass up into the advanced work and should be drawn away from the industry for a shorter or longer course, as seems possible, so that when they do enter these unskilled parts of the trade their knowledge and their intelligence will afford them opportunity for continuous advancement. Or to these children should be given part-time instruction which would fit them for the skilled processes, and enable them to pass on to the higher type of machine operating.
This is the great industry for women in Worcester in which there is a possibility for training and for the development of skill. It is, therefore, upon this industry that training should be concentrated, giving as large an opportunity as the children will accept for shorter or longer preparation, in the technique of machine operating, but supplementing this course with training in the needle trade and in domestic economy. It seems probable that any plan for training should also contemplate three features as a later development. Part-time training might be anticipated for the younger girls who can not be prevailed upon to give full time for even a short period; specialized operating for those who have been able to take only a short period of training; and evening work on special machines for the ambitious young woman who is now in the industry.
3. The group of industries in which there is the opportunity for the most highly skilled work and therefore for the highest industrial opportunity and wage, dressmaking and millinery, is found to a limited extent in Worcester.
In dressmaking, the outlook is distinctly for the mature and independent worker. But the field is extremely limited, and the means by which the young worker, even with a certain amount of training, can secure experience or training are lacking. Both of those conditions are due to the small number and small size of the specialized shops. Both offer special problems for solution in connection with trade training, and must affect the kind and length of courses given. Only a small number, perhaps not to exceed 20, should therefore be given a short or one year course of training, since opportunity to enter the trade at the bottom and work up is at present so limited. Similarly, longer courses, two, three, or four years, in which the more advanced principles are taught, seem essential. Dull-season courses for the girl with a shorter preparation, or evening courses teaching certain definite parts of the trade to the older girl with a professional attitude, would probably necessarily follow in the development of the training. To this work, therefore, would be directed the girl with that type of ability which makes for success in the trade, and only the girl without pressure for immediate self support, or with force of char
acter sufficient to overcome the difficulties of a long and unpaid or low-paid apprenticeship period.
Millinery is also a highly skilled trade with limited opportunities in Worcester, as it now exists. Consisting of small shops with a few helpers, it doubtless affords better opportunities proportionately than dressmaking, with the exception that the seasons are very short. But the call is chiefly for the skilled maker and the trimmer. The girls who now enter are usually more mature and less self dependent, but the apprenticeship training is apparently unsatisfactory. One or two year courses therefore seem desirable, and a scheme for dullseason courses would probably be distinctly popular.
4. A trade school for girls in Worcester should certainly emphasize the courses in machine operating and part-time instruction. Here is a field for constructive work and distinct initiative. The city must face the problems of all large industrial centers, but it differs from Boston or New York in that it does not have the large demand for the highest type of feminized industries. On the other hand, it differs, probably, from the textile centers in that it has a very large and rapidly growing industry which demands the skill gained in the factory. In this respect it will therefore doubtless teach such centers as parts of Boston, the shoe centers of the State, and similar industrial towns.
The trade school can not properly duplicate the Boston trade school. It will contain the same trades, but the emphasis and proportion must be different. The Boston trade school did and should accentuate the dressmaking and the millinery as the best fields for girls with certain aptitudes, and as unrestricted in types of development. The Worcester trade school must offer these trades with guarded care as to numbers, types of girls, and types of opportunities. The Boston trade school offered machine operating, but it has been properly an outgrowth of experience and dependent on the increase in size of the school. The Worcester trade school should attack this trade as its most important and most immediate problem.
These conclusions suggest, therefore, the establishment of a trade school with a short course in machine operating. Instruction should be given to a fairly large group at once in order to demonstrate its efficiency. It may prove necessary to secure part-time cooperation with some machine-operating industry as an entering wedge, or to consider such a scheme as feasible for the immediate future. It should look forward to rapid development in the variety of specialized machines; to tapid increase in the number to whom instruction could be given; and in the length of course which shall be offered, either increasing the unit of time or introducing larger units. The trade school should also offer one-year courses in dressmaking and millinery at once. These will be doubtless limited in size at first by
the number of applicants, but the effort should be to restrict the number admitted to these courses, and development should distinctly be in the introduction of longer unit courses.
Dull-season courses and evening courses will doubtless in time demand consideration. The trade school will surely feel itself bound in due time to meet the needs of the larger number of workers in the machine-operating industry, through part-time courses. It also will have before it in the future the welfare of the young workers in textiles and in the mercantile establishments, unless they may have been drawn away from these less desirable occupations. The necessity for the immediate and intensive attention to machine operating indicates the importance of securing opportunity for solid permanent and expanding housing, in order that installing machines should be conducted as economically as possible.
VIII. PRESENTATION OF MATERIAL IN TABULAR FORM.
Table 1.--Showing women-employing industries of Worcester.
(Based on factory inspector's report.)
1 Miscellaneous: 2 emery factories; 4 piano factories; 1 drug; 2 food; printer; 4 casket factories: 1 machinery brush; 1 comb; 1 cigar; 1 yeast; 1 dyeworks; 6 paper-bag factories; 1 bookbinding; 6 newspaper; 1 heel; 1 unclassified.
* Included under men.
Of the women-employing industries of Worcester, envelopes and paper goods, narrow fabric, textiles, thread, and wire and metal goods employ almost dne-half (47 per cent). Boots and shoes, clothing, corset, and muslin underwear employ about two-fifths (43 per cent) of the women.