In Bridgeport, Ct., a medium-sized city known as the "Industrial Capital of
Connecticut," public vocational education enjoyed increased popularity among
young workers during the 1930s. At the State Trade School, the largest of
eleven trade schools in the state, the children of the "New Immigrants"
dominated attendance. This rising generation of young workers faced changing
industrial demands, which often led them to forsake immigrant family advice
and spurn the artisan world of their parents in favor of organized school
instruction. According to interviews conducted by the Federal Writers'
Project, students did not associate particular trades with an ethnic enclave.
While the school taught such business values as individual success and
careers, and local firms helped to shape the curriculum, the student's own
working-class culture was a synthesis of many influences. Unions and Left
politics played a significant role in local life, with skilled workers running
as Socialists dominating elected Bridgeport government after 1933 led by Mayor