Vocational Schools Established and maintained by the Jewish Community in New York

Hebrew Technical Institute (For Boys) 36 Stuyvesant Street

This school was established to enable Jewish boys of limited means to secure the best training to fit them for successful employment in mechanical trades. By reason of its long career and the very excellent record of its graduates, it may be said to have eminently attained that object.

The course is three years in length, and the pupils are selected with care. They must be about 13 years of age, and possess a general education equivalent to that given in the 6th year of the elementary public schools. Tuition is free.

Our Jewish youth are not by hereditary experience apt to choose a trade as a vocation, so the first two years of the course are devoted to instruction in those subjects best fitted to develop a taste for a trade, and the last year to intensive instruction to fit the pupil directly for that trade.

The work of this school is therefore both prevocational and vocational in character, and, as such, a model of what a school should be for the purpose intended.

Hebrew Technical Institute for Girls: Second Avenue and 15th Street.

Established in 1880, Inc. 1884 and 1886.

The purpose of this school is primarily to equip Jewish girls to become a better factor in the home, and with that in view the pupils are given suitable mental, ethical and physical instruction in connection with the special training for a vocation.

The course is eighteen months in length, and in admitting pupils the aim is to select those who are in greatest financial need, and best fitted to derive benefit from the work they are to undertake at the school.

They must be 14 1/2 years of age, and graduates of the public schools. Tuition is free, and in some cases additional support is provided. The vocational training is of two kinds: commercial and industrial. The first prepares girls to follow business pursuits, the last for efficient wage-earning in trade.

The work of this school is similar in character to that done in the public high schools; but with this difference that b y means of intensive work, and short unit vocational courses, a girl can accomplish the same amount of work in about one-half the time. This is an important feature, as for economic reasons practically none of these girls could attend the city high schools.

Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls: 225 East 63d Street

The primary object of this institution is to provide a home for needy working girls, and by bringing them into a better environment, improve their mental, moral and physical condition.

The great majority of the girls are backward and uncared for, and much emphasis is placed upon teaching them the fundamental principles of proper living.

The aim of the trade instruction given is to prepare the pupils in as short a time as possible for work in the skilled needle trades, as otherwise they could only learn these trades in the usual unsatisfactory manner. In connection with that training they receive instruction in the elementary subjects of a general education.

The courses vary in length from 6 months to 1 1/2 years; but the school's program is flexible, and is adapted to the needs of the individual pupil.

In selecting the pupils, who are between 14 and 17 years of age, preference is given to those girls who are dependent, and most in need of the school's instruction.

Baron de Hirsch Trade School: 222 East 64th Street.

The purpose of this school is, by a short course of vocational training, to fit a certain class of our Jewish young men to obtain employment in one of the mechanical trades.

These young men, many of them recent immigrants deficient in education, have left school at an early age and found employment in unskilled occupations, at low wages and with little chance for advancement. They are from necessity wage-earners, and cannot afford to enter schools having long courses of instruction, but can sacrifice a short wage-earning period if by so doing they can secure the necessary preparation to give them a better start in life.

To meet the needs of this class the school offers 5 1/2 month courses of instruction in trades, any of which if completed will give the pupil a sufficient practical knowledge readily to secure employment as a helper, and a foundation to assure his advancement to the grade of a mechanic.

The pupils must be at least 16 years of age, and satisfy the Superintendent as to their general fitness to learn a trade. Tuition is free.

If it were not for this school many of our Jewish youth would have had little opportunity to better their condition in life, and the successful record of its several thousand graduates only confirms this fact.

In view of the establishment by the Board of Education of several vocational schools as part of the city's school system, one may question whether the Jewish community is justified in maintaining schools of that character.

The private schools have been the pioneers in developing this kind of work; but in spite of all that has so far been accomplished, educators have not yet arrived at any unanimity on the subject of vocational education.

The diversity of educational needs, owing to the varying social, industrial and educational conditions of different communities makes it difficult if not impossible, to decide upon any one type of school as best fitted to meet those needs. Indeed, educational experts have only recently discovered the very grave difficulties underlying the whole problem, and are less able than they were a few years ago to offer a solution.

Vocational education is still in the experimental stage, and educational progress in a country of such varied conditions as ours can only be advanced by experimental solutions demanded by those conditions, and diversity rather than uniformity will yield the best results.

Our private vocational schools, owing to their diversity of type, and to their being independent foundations able to develop their own policy, are better fitted than the public schools to perform this experimental work, and the results attained will supply the basic facts by means of which our educational experts may ultimately develop a general policy of vocational education.

The public vocational schools as now organized do not directly meet the needs of the different classes of Jewish youth now attending our schools, and it is to be questioned if they ever can do so, for it is believed that private schools of various types will always be needed to supplement the work of the public schools.


Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Vocational Schools Established and maintained by the Jewish Community in New York
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918; Edited and published by Kehillah (Jewish Community of NYC) 1918; Lipshitz Press, 80 Lafayette Street, N.Y., N.Y. MOA
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