AUGUST 28, 1941
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I went this morning to Astoria, L. I., to go through the National Youth Administration workshops. It was over a year since I had seen them. They have expanded greatly, and the equipment is far better than it was a year ago. Now they are on a really excellent production basis. At the present time, when the shortage of skilled labor is what we are trying to meet, it is most important to give every young person who is learning a trade the number of hours of work required by employers on the particular machine he intends to use. The worker may, of course, acquire a number of hours on a number of machines, but whatever the employer's requirements are, they should be met in training these boys and girls.
Of course, they must also have some related training, given by the Departments of Education to supplement their skills. In many cases this related training has to be condensed, and the number of hours required by the Departments of Education should be lowered in order to make it possible to meet the requirements for actual work. This is not purely an educational job. It is designed to give us skilled workers.
I think we should realize also that there are comparatively few trade and technical schools throughout the nation with modern enough equipment to do the job required by employers. This is something which of course, should be remedied in the future, but it is impossible to do so at present because the emergency makes it impossible to buy this equipment now.
I was very glad to see a number of business executives and educators also visiting the shops this morning, and particularly glad to have a few words with Mr. James G. MacDonald.
There is one other thing about Pensacola, Florida, which I forgot to mention yesterday, and yet it made a great impression on me. The Government, through its division of defense housing coordination, is establishing defense homes registration offices in cities where industries and camps are located. People are asked to register their houses, if they have rooms to rent, and workers coming in may go to the office where this registration is done and find out where they can get accommodations.
It is asking a great deal of people to register their homes if they are going away for a short time but, if they are willing to have them used, it is very helpful. This is one way of cooperating in the national defense effort which is very valuable, and I would like to congratulate Pensacola and its citizens on having made a very good beginning on this program.