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School is in session throughout the year. In schools having resident school instructors whose time is devoted entirely to teaching, instruction is given Monday to Saturday from 7 to 9 a. m., also from 1 to 3 p. m. in schools at the larger shops. In other schools the days and hours of instruction vary. Each boy is required to attend school four hours per week. No home work is required. The supervisor holds that recreation is necessary to the normal boy and that it is unjust to require a boy who has been employed all day to give up his evenings to study, and instructors assign no more work than can be done during the daytime allotted.
In general, the school work follows closely the same plan as the New York Central. Two and two-thirds hours per week are given to mechanical drawing and one and one-third hours to shop arithmetic. Spelling and business letter writing and the elements of mechanics and physics are taught incidentally. Throughout all of the work there is an attempt at the teaching of civics, not under that name, but through personal contact with the instructors who teach those things which make for better and more intelligent citizenship.
The shop practice does not differ materially from that of the New York Central system. In the course of his apprenticeship the boy gets experience in all phases of his trade. At one point an engine was overhauled and repaired (practically rebuilt) entirely with apprentice labor.
In 5 of the schools there are resident school instructors whose time is devoted entirely to teaching. In some places the chief draftsman of the shop is the school instructor. There are 32 instructors in the system. Nine instructors give school instruction only, 18 give shop instruction only, and 5 give both school and shop instruction. These 5 have the close cooperation of foremen. One school instructor has 4 shops under his supervision; 2 school instructors have 3 shops each under their supervision, and 4 have 2 each. In most cases there is a shop instructor at each shop, and where the apprentices are very few in number he may have other duties in the shop. It is the policy of the supervisor to have 1 shop instructor to every 25 boys. In Topeka there are 10 shop instructors and 2 school instructors. Teachers are responsible to the chief local shop official, and they to the supervisor. The supervisor is nominally held accountable to the general superintendent of motive power; practically, however, the action of the supervisor is final on all matters pertaining to apprentices, and the instructors are on equal footing with the shop foreman.
Several of the school instructors are graduates of the apprentice school and have had some higher training. With one exception all of the school instructors have had work at technical schools and some are graduates. The shop instructors are men who have had
experience in the Santa Fe shops. The Santa Fe places emphasis upon the personal equation. All instructors must be efficient men, and the shop instructor must be able to take hold of any machine or work on the floor or bench and to demonstrate to the boy the correct and quickest way of completing the job in hand. But in addition to this the instructor must be an active, boy-loving man, who naturally commands respect and who instinctively draws the boys to him and wins their confidence. He must be able in a measure to "live their lives," enter into their games, and to be a real factor in shaping the life of the apprentice into the most desirable cast.
At a few points the school is housed in a separate building, but at most places the schoolroom is in some regular building, usually the office building. A complete set of models is furnished to every school, also parts of machines, valves, gears, etc. At one point, La Junta, Colo., the high-school manual training department of the public schools is furnished with a set of models, and instruction is given in the school according to Santa Fe methods. In this way the high school will become a feeder to the apprentice school.
The company furnishes each apprentice with lesson sheets and blue prints (which take the place of books), paper for drawings, a drawing board, a T square, and a complete set of drawing instruments. If the boy leaves before the completion of his time, these instruments revert to the company, but if he finishes his time they become his property. These boys are engaged in the shop on productive labor under the direction of a shop instructor. The ratio of apprentices to journeymen is so large that really a very large part of the shop product is the work of these apprentice school pupils.
The school work of apprentices is accepted, hour for hour, on their time. The company wishes to keep all of its graduates in its own employ, but many are attracted by the higher wages offered elsewhere and do not remain. The boys are impressed with the possibilities of promotion, and it is the policy of the company to fill all vacancies, from master mechanics down, from the ranks of those who have been graduated from the apprentice school. The school is still so young that few have as yet risen to positions of responsibility.
There is a bonus system in vogue in the Santa Fe shops; under it a specified time is given to accomplish a certain piece of work, and if the workman or apprentice accomplishes this work within the given period, he is paid an extra amount in addition to his regular wage. It is not uncommon for the bonus to equal or exceed the regular wage of the apprentice.
The apprenticeship training system has met with the approval of the officials throughout the motive power department from the superintendent down. Parents have, in the main, been very favorably disposed toward it. There has been some opposition, not especially to
the school feature, but to the whole system, from the men in the shops, because of the proportion of apprentices to journeymen, and from the apprentices themselves, because they have felt that they were doing regular journeymen's work in their third and fourth years, and were getting paid only apprentice rates for so doing.
Upon completion of the four years' course, graduates receive the Santa Fe diploma, which assures them preference for employment in the Santa Fe shops.
The first six months of the apprenticeship are regarded as a probationary period. If in that time the boy does not show evidences of becoming an efficient workman he is advised to take up some other employment for which he is better adapted. Boys leave the service either voluntarily or because they are advised by the instructor to resign, or they are dismissed. The following statement from the quarterly report of the company June 30, 1910, shows the number leaving before and after graduation:
Number of apprentices Oct. 1, 1907.
Number employed since Oct. 1, 1907....
Number of apprentices leaving service before graduation.
Number graduated since Oct. 1, 1907....
Number of graduates leaving service immediately upon graduation.
Number of graduates now in service.....
Total number of apprentices in service June 30, 1910.
At Topeka, in addition to the regular day school there is an evening school which is in session two evenings each week. Boys who do not keep up their work in the day school either because of lack of previous training or disinclination to work are required to attend this school. At Topeka, in addition to the night "coaching class" referred to above there is an evening class for men in the shops which meets for two hours once a week. Men pay $1 per month for instruction in this class.
The Santa Fe Employees' Magazine provides one four-year scholarship each year to Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago. The scholarship is awarded in September to the apprentice who has served at least three years of his apprenticeship and who ranks first in an average of school and shop grades, bonus, and efficiency. The scholarship pupil is given employment on the road during the summer months when Armour Institute is closed and is "welcomed back to the service after he has graduated."
The Grand Trunk Railway system has an evening apprenticeship school at Battle Creek, Mich., which was established in 1902, and also one at St. Albans, Vt. Schools are also in operation at several localities in Canada.
Persons 16 to 21 years of age who are able to meet the mental and physical requirements are accepted as apprentices, and are required to attend school throughout their apprenticeship, which is 4 years for boiler makers, electricians, or pattern makers, and 5 years for machinists. The enrollment last year was boiler maker, 1; electricians, 2; machinists, 67; pattern maker, 1. School is in session from October 1 to June 30, and instruction is given in mechanical drawing and shop arithmetic Monday to Thursday from 7 to 9 p. m. Each boy attends school two evenings per week. Apprentices are not paid wages for the time spent in school. Frequent examinations are held, the results thereof being posted so that apprentices may be advised as to their progress, and "thereby be able to brush up the weak spots." Each apprentice is provided, without expense to him, with a copy of Practical Mechanics for Apprentices and Others, and with blue-print drawing for instruction. As an incentive to good work annual competitive examinations are conducted. Prizes are awarded for highest average in classes in each year of apprenticeship. The school is equipped with a complete set of models.
ST. ALBANS, VT., SCHOOL.
Persons accepted as apprentices at the St. Albans shop are required to attend school throughout their apprenticeship. The enrollment in 1909 was 35. School is in session in the evening from the first week in October to the last week in April.
The Erie Railroad system of apprentice schools which is similar in the more important details to the New York Central system, was established in 1908. Schools are in operation in 5 of its 21 shops, and several others are to be started in 1911. The supervisor of apprentices and his assistant outline the courses and prepare the lesson sheets. Persons 16 to 21 years of age who pass the mental and physical examination are accepted as apprentices. Preference is given to sons of employees. Apprentices serve a three months' probationary period before they become regular apprentices. Apprentices in shops where schools are in operation are required to attend school throughout the period of their apprenticeship, which is four years. Apprentices, if able, are permitted to complete the years, and many do so.
course in three
The number of apprentices by localities and trades is shown in the
NUMBER OF APPRENTICES IN SCHOOLS OF THE ERIE RAILROAD, BY TRADES AND BY LOCATION OF SCHOOL.
School is in session 40 weeks per year. Instruction is given Monday to Friday from 7 to 9 a. m. and from 1 to 3 p. m.; Saturday, 7 to 9 a. m. Each apprentice attends school four hours per week and receives full pay for the time spent in school. This time is given over chiefly to mechanical drawing; at each session, however, a lesson is assigned in shop mathematics. The student is required to prepare the lesson in shop mathematics at home and submit it to the instructor, and such explanations as are necessary are given during the school period. No attempt is made to teach anything beyond mechanical drawing and mathematics.
There is a school instructor and a shop instructor at each shop having 50 or more apprentices, and one instructor who gives both theoretical and practical instruction for shops having less than 50 apprentices. The company endeavors to keep all of its graduates on its own pay rolls.
It is not the policy of the school to turn out draftsmen or foremen, but if a boy shows an unusual aptitude for drawing he is given six months in the drafting room, and when a vacancy occurs he may be promoted to the drafting room.
The Pennsylvania Railroad established an apprentice school at the Altoona, Pa., shops in September, 1910, and requires all apprentices in Altoona to attend school for three years. The trades taught at the present time are blacksmithing, with an enrollment of 3 pupils; boiler making, 6; car building, 7; electrical repairing, 6; machinist, 170; molding, 8; painting, 1; pattern making, 7; pipe fitting, 5; plumbing, 1; and tinsmithing, 4.
School is in session from the first Monday in September to the second Friday in July. Instruction is given five days per week from 10