The Problem of Apprenticeship Training
At the close of World War II, the American construction industry was called upon to provide the greatest expansion of construction activity in the nation's history. The necessary restrictions which had been imposed on the industry during the war, in addition to the long building slump of the depression years, had created an enormous backlog of demand for new buildings of every type, though residential construction probably constituted the greatest immediate need. The prompt and effective meeting of this need presented a major challenge to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the industry.
Clearly a vital requisite for the production of such a vast number of housing and other building units was an adequate supply of skilled tradesmen; in fact, however, an extreme shortage existed. While due in part to the problems that had been created by the war economy of the prior years, the shortage was also, in part at least, the culmination of a long history of inadequate apprentice training in the industry. Throughout the nineteenth century and continuing until World War I, the construction industry had depended primarily on overseas immigration as a source of skilled labor, though a number of trade schools and a few joint union-employer apprenticeship programs were established in the early 1900's.1 When the immigration doors were closed in the early 1920's, additional efforts were made to initiate apprenticeship programs, some of which operated with reasonable success. As late as 1928, however, a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that "the unsystematic and plan____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Labor Relations and Productivity in the Building Trades. Contributors: William Haber - Author, Harold M. Levinson - Author. Publisher: University of Michigan. Place of publication: Ann Arbor, MI. Publication year: 1956. Page number: 73.
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