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

Jasper McLevy.


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