Revival of Apprenticeship

December 23, 1940

Report Outline
Current Efforts to Train Skilled Workers
Apprenticeship in the Machine Age
Governmental Promotion of Apprenticeship

Current Efforts to Train Skilled Workers

One of the serious obstacles to speedy expansion of production under the national defense program is a shortage of skilled workers. Labor shortages in a number of skilled trades have already developed in many localities, and a general shortage is expected when defense production approaches higher levels. The defense program has thus thrown into bold relief the shortcomings of present methods of training workers for industry. To overcome these deficiencies, the federal government has undertaken a broad program of vocational training for workers in defense industries. A key feature of this program is revival of the apprenticeship system.

At the depth of the depression in the early 1930's, apprenticeship virtually disappeared as a method of training highly skilled workers in the United States. A federal program to encourage reestablishment of the apprenticeship system was begun in 1934, under the auspices of the National Recovery Administration. The program was given congressional sanction in 1937, with passage of the Fitzgerald Act, which authorized appointment by the Secretary of Labor of a Federal Committee on Apprenticeship and establishment of an Apprenticeship Unit in the Department of Labor. During the last three years, and particularly within the last few months, substantial progress has been made toward the development of a unified nation-wide apprenticeship system.

Apprenticeship, “Refresher” and “Up-Grading” Programs

The principal functions of the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship are to “bring together employers and labor for the formulation of programs of apprenticeship” and to “cooperate with state agencies engaged in the formulation and promotion of standards of apprenticeship.” According to William F. Patterson, chief of the Apprenticeship Unit, “the federal government seeks the extension of apprenticeship into fields and areas where it may be needed but has not previously existed; it enumerates certain basic fundamentals for the training of the country's skilled workers; it aims eventually to bring all young workers entering the skilled trades under such standards.” Since the inception of the federal program, state-wide apprenticeship councils to promote apprentice training in local industries have been established in about 20 states, and it is expected that similar agencies will be created in other states during 1941 legislative sessions.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Youths and Work
Oct. 14, 2016  Apprenticeships
Mar. 14, 2014  Youth Unemployment
Jan. 27, 2012  Youth Volunteerism
Oct. 23, 1992  Youth Apprenticeships
Aug. 31, 1990  Teens Work to Balance School & Jobs
Jul. 12, 1961  Jobs for Young People
May 10, 1950  Employment of Young People
Dec. 23, 1940  Revival of Apprenticeship
Jan. 17, 1940  Work Programs for Young People
Congress Actions
Vocational and Adult Education