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Employments and Placements of Students Under modern social conditions a great number of young women, as well as men, are gainfully employed. Most of the students in home economics expect to and will pursue some gainful occupation for at least a few years after graduation. The distribution of home economics graduates among various life occupations is treated in some detail by the section of this survey that deals with graduates and ex-students. The reader is referred to that section for factual information in regard to this matter. The subject is introduced here in order to record the methods used by the institutions in guiding and placing home economics students.
The methods used to acquaint students with demands in the fields allied with the training offered are significant, in that they measure in some degree the success of the training itself. Among 32 institutions reporting, 16 report occasional assemblies of students for lectures on the vocations which are open to young women with home economics training. Eight report that student advisors confer with students concerning vocational opportunities. Nine report personal interviews between students and members of the staff or persons who are engaged in vocational work. The University of Missouri reports that the home economics department participate in vocational guidance conferences arranged by the Women Student Government Association. The University of Wisconsin reports that the home economics department has cooperated with the department of psychology in studying needs within the university, in proposing a program for the entire university, and has been one of the most active departments in carrying plans into effect.
Fourteen institutions report using the advisor system for entering freshmen, not only to acquaint the student with courses and other offerings, but to keep in touch with her during the progress of her study for the purpose of guidance toward a desired end.
Demand for persons with home economics training is determined by home economics departments in various ways. Thirteen institutions report using the demand of previous years as a guide; 17, that conferences with the State supervisor of home economics education keeps them in close touch with the need for teachers. Ten institutions report that demand has always exceeded supply. Significant is the close cooperation shown with administrative heads in the teaching field. Very little is reported regarding association with workers in other fields. This is somewhat surprising since there is an increasing number of openings in the business world for women trained in home economics.
4 Part V, Alumni and Formrer Students.
One method of determining demand for employment as well as the use made of the special type of education offered by home economics is by making studies of graduates. This method is not generally employed, seemingly, since only 11 institutions report any studies of graduates. Twenty-two report that no studies have been made; eight do not report. Most of the studies are concerned with teacher training.
Intimately connected with the subject of the opportunities open to home economics graduates and the placement of such students, are the contacts and affiliations of home economics units in the landgrant institutions with organizations and agencies outside the institutions. These relationships are significant in this connection in that they indicate something of the degree to which home economics is establishing itself as a distinct field of education, and they also serve to indicate whether home economics is developing as an extremely academic area of education or tends to associate itself with the practical affairs of the world. Both these aspects of outside relationships have considerable bearing upon the training and occupations of graduates.
Only 8 of the 42 institutions reporting in regard to these associations show any considerable breadth of such contacts and activities by reason of the number and variety of their affiliations and cooperations.
As might be expected the greatest activity of national character is found in connection with the American Home Economics Association, the national professional association of those engaged in home economics work. Thirteen institutions report 21 members of home economics staff holding office in the association; 11 report carrying on projects with it. Three institutions report carrying on projects with the aid of the American Association for Vocational Education; 17 report the association helpful in promoting legislative measures of concern to home economics in land-grant colleges.
The activity that is most frequently mentioned as carried on in cooperation with other national organizations is that of conferences, probably the most ineffective and least significant of all forms of association.
Cooperation with organizations upon a State basis shows a somewhat different emphasis. Here cooperation is largely in the matters of supplying speakers and helping with programs. Very few institutions report cooperating on projects with State agencies. Since the extension service has so wide an influence in most of the States, it is probable that many of the services the resident colleges formerly rendered are delegated to county representatives. Very few show any activity in the matter of providing or arranging exhibits. For example, among 32 State fair associations reported active, 11 only receive cooperation from resident home economics. This may indicate the better organization of county extension services; or it may indicate that resident home economics is emphasizing a type of education less concerned with handicrafts, canned fruit, baking, and garment construction.
Local cooperations reported are of much the same character and receive relatively the same degree of emphasis. Activities reported are for the most part with city schools and charitable organizations, probably because these two are well organized. Very little cooperation is shown with rural schools or with county health work. Six institutions show considerable cooperation with vocational schools or classes University of Idaho, Kansas State Agricultural College, Cornell University, Ohio State University, West Virginia University, and University of Wisconsin.
Federated women's clubs are the organizations with which home economics is cooperating actively in the greatest number of ways according to reports received. They have without doubt, done much to bring to the attention of the public as well as to organized groups, the need of the type of education which home economics has developed. They are a vitally interested group, composed entirely of women, therefore, an organized part of the group whose problems home economics has made it its business to study and help in solving.
A study of the replies from 41 institutions shows that 28 have established definite cooperative activities with commercial agencies. These cooperations are in the main of three types: Those confined to use of illustrative or demonstration materials; those offering opportunities for field and practice work for home economics students; and those concerned with association in research or special investigations.
Half of the institutions report assistance by use of demonstration materials. The types mentioned most often are those used in household management, clothing, and textiles. Colorado Agricultural College reports loans of etchings, batiks, pottery, and hand-wrought silver, and other art treasures from artists and shops. This is fine evidence of the recognition of the place fine arts should occupy in the experience of students and especially of persons whose occupation will in all likelihood be that of home builders.
Four institutions, Michigan State College, University of Nebraska, Montana State College, and Rutgers University, mention cooperation from commercial organizations in affording opportunities to home economics students for practice work. Two mention opportunity for practice in salesmanship, buying, and tea-room management. One states that members of the staff in clothing and house furnishing departments give lectures in local stores. Two institutions mention practice work in institutional management: One with a railroad; one with local tea rooms and cafeterias.
Four institutions report cooperation in research and investigations with commercial concerns. The University of California reports graduate students working on a study of the keeping qualities of various papers in cracker cartons; also a study of the effect of cocoanut oil on loaf volume of bread. Kansas State Agricultural College reports testing of recipes for a national concern and the determination of vitamin content of certain canned foods commercially packed. Purdue University reports one member of the staff working part time on rural electrification. Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College reports that home economics furnishes a short course one week in length for a public-utilities corporation.
Commendable as these affiliations are it is remarkable that so few of the home economics units in land-grant colleges have established similar relations. They might well find in such relationships many elements of value to resident home economics instruction, quite apart from preparation for specific occupations. For instance, commercial concerns are teaching the American family and the American home in thousands of ways each day. It would be well for home economics to help set up standards both of product and ethical procedure so that the housewife who is the largest buyer in the country, may have some further assistance in catching up in the “ backward art of spending.” Just how this can be done is something that must be worked out. Home economics should be one to lead in establishing somewhat the same relationship with commercial firms that medicine, agriculture, and other fields of education have established for the purpose of working out standards for commodities in their fields. This is a gigantic undertaking. Home economics should exert a wide influence based on scientific investigation.
Chapter X.-Conclusions and Recommendations
1. As compared with the traditional fields established in the higher educational world, home economics has had a very brief time in which to isolate and to create subject matter, to devise organizations, train staffs, and formulate purposes in terms of a college standard that has itself been revolutionized during the past 15 years.
2. There are four main tendencies or conceptions in interpretation of home economics purposes:
(a) The development of handicraft skill in the operation of home keeping.–No institution to-day admits that the major objective of its home economics work is that of developing handicraft skill in the operations of home keeping.
(6) The development of home managers capable of handling the labor, the financing, and the social relationships that arise in the family unit.—The statements of objectives by home economics departments show that more than two-thirds of the statements are determined by desire to provide education that will serve the purposes revealed by more or less conscious and thoroughgoing analysis of the family. Women are increasingly seeking and finding interests that are more closely related to other institutional and social groupings than to the homes which they maintain, and there would seem to be no reason why the other individual interests and abilities of women should be submerged in the family unit.
(c) Preparation for specific gainful employment.-All the 42 institutions that describe their home economics objectives include in one form or another statements of objectives in terms of gainful employment-teaching, dietetics, extension service, institutional management, journalism, and business concerned with the buying, selling, or servicing of products used in homes. It should be fairly obvious that these employment objectives are not fully determined and can not be determined by analysis of family and home activity and relationships.
(d) The objective of combined scientific and social education.This objective may be described as one that attempts to combine scientific and social education by utilizing as a medium and incentive