Meyer Bloomfield: organizer of the vocational guidance movement (1907-1917).
Meyer Bloomfield was the preeminent leader of the vocational guidance movement during the first 20 years of the 20th century. From 1907 to 1917, he worked to establish organizations, which today are called the National Career Development Association and the American Management Association, and to found a journal which is now called the Journal of Counseling & Development. To train vocational guidance personnel, he offered the 1st university course in counselor education. He also published several books and many articles on vocational guidance for both professionals and the public.
During the 1st decade of the 20th century, many activists and pioneers advanced the vocational guidance movement ignited by Frank Parsons's (1909) book Choosing a Vocation. Meyer Bloomfield, the preeminent leader of the movement, worked for 3 decades to establish organizations, train practitioners, and publish materials. Widely acknowledged by historians of the counseling profession for Bloomfield's contributions to vocational guidance, the breadth of his contributions remains an untold story within the field. Bloomfield did more than propel a movement that concentrated on guiding the vocational choices of youth--he helped shape related specialties including occupational placement, employee selection, and worker supervision. Bloomfield believed that the contributions made by vocational guidance would be "nullified" without close connection to these disciplines. Thus, he worked equally on creating the fields of vocational guidance and personnel management. Today, many career counselors are concerned about the problem that Bloomfield feared, namely that the fields of vocational guidance and personnel management would go their separate ways. In considering this issue, however, Bloomfield's contributions to vocational guidance and personnel management should be examined.
Childhood and Adolescence
Bloomfield was born on February 11, 1878, in Bucharest, Romania. When he was 4 years old, his father, Maurice Bloomfield, and his mother, Bertha Pastmanten, moved the family to Manhattan's Lower East Side. Here, Maurice Bloomfield taught English to immigrants, an activity that his son would in due course take up in Boston. Bloomfield's obituary in the New York Times noted,
His first years in the United States were spent on the Lower East Side and from the University and Henry Street Settlements he gained his first interest in social work and a life-long belief in the need for vocational guidance. ("Meyer Bloomfield, a Welfare Leader," 1938, p. 23)
As an adult, M. Bloomfield (1915c) fondly recalled a young woman at the University Settlement House's small library. Before lending a book, she took great care to learn about each boy's or girl's ambitions and ideals. Bloomfield believed that she often gave them relevant books about fitting vocations that were previously unknown to them. Bloomfield attended public high school, graduating from the Technical Institute of New York City. He earned an A.B. (artium baccalaureatus degree equivalent to a bachelor of arts degree) from the City College of New York in 1899 and a second A.B. in social work from Harvard University in 1901 (Ingham, 1983). While a student at Harvard, Bloomfield became the first guide for the Jacob Hecht Club for boys, a project of the Hebrew Industrial School (Solomon, 1956).
Civic Service House
In 1901, Pauline Agassiz Shaw, a noted philanthropist, provided funding for a new settlement house to be located in the center of the North End. The Civic Service House was to provide educational opportunities for immigrants and young persons seeking work. Having been impressed by Bloomfield's work with the Hecht boys club, she chose him to head the new Civic Service House. Bloomfield, a newly minted social worker, hired his friend Philip Davis, who also just graduated from Harvard with a degree in social work. Davis and his bride lived on the top floor of the house. The house had 7 other male residents along with 12 male volunteers and 6 female volunteers (Woods & Kennedy, 1911). Civic Service House assisted adults rather than children, especially adults who were ambitious and sought self-improvement and success. Starting in 1901, the staff taught the English language, American history, and other work and socialization skills to the immigrants who lived in the tenements and worked in the garment district and at the fruit, vegetable, and fish markets. In 1906, M. Bloomfield edited A Handbook for the Citizens as a primer for use in the citizenship course at the Civic Service House. With the encouragement of Mary Follett (Tonn, 2003), 2 years later M. Bloomfield (1908) published a Civic Reader for New Americans for use in evening schools around the country. College-type courses were eventually added to the evening courses when, in 1905, Frank Parsons and his confidant Ralph Albertson founded the Breadwinner's Institute at the Civic Service House. Modeled after Davidson's Breadwinners College in New York City, the Institute's 2-year diploma offered "a taste of college" to the working poor.
Three teachers at the Civic Service House later became quite prominent: Therese Weil Filene, Max Perkins, and Walter Lippmann. Filene taught music at the Civic Service House. She was married to Lincoln Filene, who with his brother, Edward A. Filene, ran Filene's Department Store. The death of her mother in 1905 plunged her into a deep depression (Berkely, 1998). A talented violinist, she let Bloomfield, her cousin, convince her to organize a music program for the neighborhood children at the Civic Service House. This worked captured the imagination of the shy 30-year-old who, in 1910, founded the country's first settlement house devoted primarily to music, The South End Music School, and who helped found the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Coincidentally, in 1910, Bloomfield's brother Daniel founded the Boston Music School Settlement at the Civic Service House. These two music school settlements merged in 1968 to become the Community Music School of Boston. Perkins lived in and taught English at the Civic Service House immediately following his graduation from Harvard in June 1907 before moving to New York, where he would go on to be recognized as the 20th century's greatest editor of fiction for his work on novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe (Berg, 1978). Lippmann, who was later recognized as the greatest journalist of his time, also taught English at the Civic Service House while he was an undergraduate student at Harvard.
On June 22, 1902, Bloomfield married Sylvia "Sadie" Palmer, an opera singer who grew up in Brooklyn. Together, they had three children: Catherine Pauline, Joyce Therese, and Lincoln Palmer. As a newlywed, Bloomfield studied law at Boston University, including a course taught by Parsons; Parsons taught law because the Economics Department denied him an appointment because he was considered too radical (Jacoby, 2004). During his law school years, Bloomfield helped to found several different unions. For example, in November 1903, the Women's Trade Union League was organized by Mary O'Sullivan at the Civic Service House. The Women's Trade Union League immediately began to organize the women working in Boston's garment industry. In 1905, Bloomfield was admitted to the bar (Lynch, 1970).
In 1906, Bloomfield accepted an invitation from the Economic Club of Boston to have lunch and listen to Parsons speak about "The Ideal City" (Picchioni & Bonk, 1983). Parsons had given this talk many times before, including to the League of American Municipalities in New York City on October 10, 1903. In the speech, Parsons predicted that cities of the future would provide free transportation, including underground trains running at 200 miles per hour between major cities. He foresaw that automobile patents would expire so people would not be using gasoline engines. There would be no saloons, no gambling, and no stock exchanges. "Physicians will be paid to keep people well. ... Lawyers will disappear 'with the other parasitic classes' " ("The Ideal City," 1903, p. 6). Most important to Bloomfield, Parsons repeated his long-standing call for a scientific industrialism that included vocational education and guidance. As early as 1894, Parsons had urged a systematic approach to matching people and positions when he wrote,
Men work best when they are doing what nature has especially fitted them for. A sensible industrial system will therefore seek ... to put men, as well as timber stone, and iron in the places for which their nature fits them. (p. 69)
So, Parsons's ideal city of the future would assist youth to choose a vocation not just to hunt for a job. Bloomfield liked the idea of helping youth to choose a vocation, so on behalf of the Civic Service House, he asked Parsons to meet with 60 boys who were about to graduate from evening high schools in Boston.
Bloomfield hosted a reception on the roof garden of the Civic Service House where the boys talked with Parsons about their plans. Bloomfield later wrote that many of the boys were uninformed about the requirements of their choices (M. Bloomfield, 1911, p. 29). A third of the boys hoped to become lawyers and another third hoped to become doctors, with a dozen more planning to go to college. Bloomfield believed that these boys were worse off than were boys with no vocational plans because their boys were would lead to wasted effort and disappointment. Parsons's talk was quite well received, so much so that several of the students asked for a personal interview. Noting this demand, Bloomfield pressured Parsons to draft a plan for an organization that would provide vocational assistance to youth. When Parsons finally completed the plan in late 1907, Bloomfield secured funds from Shaw to implement it. As a result, on January 13, 1908, the Vocation Guidance Bureau (VGB) was established as a new department in the Civic Service House, with Parsons as its director. The VGB was part of the social work of the Civic Service House, in cooperation with the YMCA, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union, and the Economic Club. The VGB had offices at each of these places, with the executive office being at the Civic Service House.
Having barely begun the work of modern vocational guidance, Parsons died on September 26, 1908, leaving the future of the VGB in doubt. As the board considered the VGB's future, it received from Stratton D. Brooks, superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, a request for assistance in helping students select high school vocational courses. In consultation with the Boston Public Schools and local executives, including Lincoln Filene, the board decided in May 1909 to hire a full-time vocational director to organize counseling for the graduates of the Boston Public Schools (M. Bloomfield, 1912). Charles Zueblin, a member of the Economic Club of Boston, recommended as director David Stone Wheeler, a progressive educator from Lexington, Massachusetts (Picchioni & Bonk, 1983). Zueblin's recommendation carried weight because he had founded Northwestern University's Settlement House in 1891 and then became one of America's first sociologists, working as chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Chicago from 1902 to 1908. Zueblin moved to Boston in 1908 after a conflict concerning his criticism of John D. Rockefeller. On Zueblin's urging, community leaders including Filene recruited Wheeler to succeed Parsons commencing June 19, 1909. Wheeler used his experience as a teacher to strengthen relations between the VGB and the public schools. One means by which he did so was to establish closer ties with the schools in the form of the Committee on Vocational Direction of the Boston Board of Education. However, in November of that same year, Wheeler left the VGB to enter training as a Methodist minister.
Almost immediately, Lincoln Filene and others convinced Bloomfield to continue the VGB's work and become its director, with his friend Davis replacing him as director of the Civic Service House. Years later, Bloomfield would be credited with steadying vocational guidance as he rescued it from the vague and vicious sentimentality in which enthusiasts were indulging. As he began this work in December 1909, Bloomfield wanted to concentrate on students, especially helping them become interested in their future work and learn to make intelligent choices. He wanted students and their parents to give thoughtful consideration to a life--career motive. In addition, M. Bloomfield (1912) worried that no one was really responsible for guiding and evaluating students' "transition from school to work" (p. 114). He considered it the community's responsibility to ensure that students' investment in education was effective, thus avoiding the social loss that may occur when students enter the work world "unguided, unprepared, and uniformed" (p. 115). Accordingly, Bloomfield added placement and follow-up to Parsons's three-step model of vocational guidance (i.e., self-evaluation, occupational information, and matching the two). True to his casework background as a social worker, Bloomfield taught counselors to do placement work and then follow up on the students' progress and offer help when students had trouble adjusting to the work world (M. Bloomfield, 1911).
Bloomfield also recognized the need for communication among practitioners of vocational guidance. At the suggestion of David Snedden, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, and with encouragement from Frank Thompson, assistant superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Bloomfield organized the First National Conference on Vocational Guidance under the auspices of the VGB and the Boston Chamber of Commerce. Bloomfield invited social workers and business people along with educators to meet in Boston on November 15 and 16 in 1910. The conference was held in conjunction with the fourth annual meeting of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education (now the American Vocational Association), which met on November 17--19. Bloomfield next helped to organize the second conference in New York in 1912 and then the third in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in October 1913. At the Michigan meeting, the National Vocational Guidance Association (now the National Career Development Association) was founded, with Bloomfield on the Executive Committee and later as president in 1916-1918. To keep communication flowing between conferences, Bloomfield and Frederick J. Allen began publishing the Vocational Guidance Newsletter in 1911, with Allen as editor. In 1921, the newsletter became a four-page bulletin called The Vocational Guidance Magazine, which cost $6.50 per month to issue (Ryan, 1926). Published continuously since then, with several name changes, it is now Published by the American Counseling Association as its flagship Journal of Counseling & Development.
Also in 1910, Bloomfield played an important role in the New York City Cloakmakers Strike. Samuel Gompers later viewed this work stoppage as more than a strike, calling it "an industrial revolution" (Greenwald, 1998, p. 318) because the strike created a new system of industrial relations and collective bargaining. When 60,000 cloakmakers walked out on July 7, 1910, the previously fiercely independent company owners formed the Cloak, Suit, and Skirt Protective Association to represent the manufacturers. Shortly thereafter, Bloomfield, on behalf of Lincoln Filene, began working to end the strike. Bloomfield and Filene had been active in regional and national meetings of the National Civic Federation. Founded in 1900, this federation of American business and labor leaders sought, through moderate progressive reform, to better working and living conditions for employees of large mining and manufacturing plants. The federation worked to help resolve disputes arising between industry and organized labor by offering mediation and arbitration services. Filene sent Bloomfield and J. R. Simpson, his merchandise manager, to the talks in New York City. After conferring with union leaders, Bloomfield invited Louis Brandeis to call for and chair a settlement meeting (Greenwald, 1998). After lengthy negotiations, the strike was settled in September of that year.
Early on, Bloomfield realized that implementation of Parsons's tripartite model of vocational guidance required sound occupational information. Rather than psychological theory and techniques, Bloomfield used the tools of social work, particularly interviews and research, to study the requirements, routines, and rewards of a variety of occupations. To collect and organize occupational information, Bloomfield hired two full-time investigators in 1910 to study the jobs in the larger mercantile and industrial concerns of Boston. Bloomfield recruited Allen as his first occupation investigator, noting that Allen possessed a teacher's spirit and perspective. Allen had taught mathematics, English, and history for 15 years in high schools and colleges before, in 1904, becoming director of the City History Club of Boston where he taught boys about city history and government. In addition to being named an occupational investigator, Allen became assistant director of the VGB. During 1910-1911, he investigated occupations in 200 establishments. In 1911 and 1912, Allen produced eight pamphlets of occupational information. Allen's pamphlets, the first of their kind, were key materials used by the VGB staff and others. For example, in 1915, Susan J. Ginn, director of vocational guidance for Boston Public Schools (and president of the National Vocational Guidance Association in 1934--1935) purchased a set for every high school in Boston. Allen's seminal work set the template for occupational studies, particularly through his influential book titled A Guide to the Study of Occupations (Allen, 1921). In 1915, the VGB stopped offering individual counseling because the Boston Public Schools established a department of vocational guidance. The VGB continued to investigate occupations and consult with agencies and school systems.
To grow the field of vocational guidance, Bloomfield realized that he needed to provide more than occupational information; he needed to recruit and train practitioners to work in the schools. Thus, in the fall of 1910, Bloomfield taught vocational guidance techniques to 117 teachers who had volunteered to counsel students in addition to their normal teaching activities. The VGB also coordinated the work of other interested groups and institutions. In July 1911, Bloomfield gave the first university course on vocational guidance. At Harvard University summer school, he presented a vocational guidance course consisting of 10 lectures to 50 teachers. The course developed in 1912 and 1913 into a 6-week sequence of lectures and conferences, along with readings supplemented by a series of organized visits to commercial, educational, and social institutions (M. Bloomfield, 1914a). The summer school announcement for 1913 read as follows:
S7 Vocational Guidance--The duties and equipment of Teachers as Vocational Counselors; the theory and practice of vocational guidance. Lectures, reading, and conferences. Five times a week, at 11. Mr. Bloomfield. (Bloomfield, 1914a, p. 14)
Many students who had taken the Harvard summer school course sought opportunities for more extended study and work in the field of vocational guidance. Accordingly, beginning in October 1912, Bloomfield organized a Monday afternoon lecture series at the VGB. It attracted teachers from Newton, Chelsea, Cambridge, and Somerville, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; and other cities. In 1914, the Harvard course was transferred to Boston University (M. Bloomfield, 1914a), which established a vocational guidance department, the first of its kind, with Bloomfield in charge. Each year, from 1914 to 1917, "Special Professor of Vocational Guidance" Bloomfield taught a course titled "The Theory and Practice of Vocational Guidance." Bloomfield was replaced at Boston University in 1917 by Allen. During the summers of 1914 and 1915, Bloomfield also taught vocational guidance at the University of California. In the summers of 1916 and 1917, he taught a summer school course at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Bloomfield produced two books for use in vocational guidance courses. One book, Readings in Vocational Guidance (M. Bloomfield, 1915b), was an edited volume of addresses, articles, and reports that presented the viewpoint, foundations, and methods of vocational guidance. Bloomfield compiled these key documents to formalize vocational guidance as an independent discipline related to the fields of psychology, economics, education, and social service. The other book, Youth, School and Vocation (M. Bloomfield, 1915c), was prepared as an instructional manual and guide for school personnel who wished to provide comprehensive vocational guidance in collaboration with other social institutions. In this book, Bloomfield described a plan for vocational care of students that included collection of accurate occupational information by investigators, analysis of student characteristics by specialists, and counseling through bureaus cooperating with the public schools. In a review of this textbook, Leavitt (1915) criticized Bloomfield's plan as overly ambitious because it ignored the realities and resources of small high schools across the nation, schools that could not afford the services of occupational investigators, vocational psychologists, and guidance counselors.
Educating the Public
In addition to organizing the profession, Bloomfield worked to promote it in his writings and public lectures. Intended for teachers, parents, and the general public, Bloomfield wrote about the importance of an intelligent choice of work in The Vocational Guidance of Youth (M. Bloomfield, 1911). In 1917, Bloomfield published a book for youth on making a life career. In Finding One's Place in Life (M. Bloomfield, 1917a), he explained to girls and boys that they needed a purpose for their lives and that they must set goals. He warned that a life career cannot be settled by whim, impulse, or accident. Having a career means planning for the future and executing a life calling. In a sentence that rings true today, M. Bloomfield (1917a) wrote, "Because the world is making such drastic demands upon the coming workers, every thoughtful man and woman, every teacher and reflecting parent, is planning ways to fit the children for the life and needs of this new century" (p. 150). He recommended preparing for a life career by studying occupations. Bloomfield explained that as youth study occupations, they are at the same time studying themselves. Mistakes are made from scant occupational information or from "a failure to face ourselves as we really are" (M. Bloomfield, 1917a, p. 26). He extolled exploration above all else.
During this period, Bloomfield traveled extensively across the United States serving as a consultant to cities and governments. For example, in 1911, he served as a special commissioner to Puerto Rico for the War Department. In 1912, he was called to Washington, DC, as an expert on vocational guidance for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At its request, he visited Indian Schools in the Pacific Northwest in the state of Washington. In 1913, he traveled to Cleveland to help the YMCA and the Chamber of Commerce develop a plan for vocational guidance (Roberts, 1913). In 1914, Bloomfield consulted with the New York City Committee on Unemployment to set up a plan to deal with the causes and problems of unemployment (Bruere, 1915, p. 14). Also in 1914, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Education asked him to examine and evaluate foreign experiments in vocational assistance with an eye to importing them to the states. This resulted in a book titled The School and the Start in Life in which M. Bloomfield (1914b) reported on the relation between school and employment, particularly vocational guidance programs, in England, Scotland, and Germany.
Although Bloomfield is remembered by counselors as a pioneer of the vocational guidance movement, he did not concentrate solely on guiding students. Early on, Bloomfield envisioned using guidance methods in industry. He believed that "work and school cannot be safely kept apart in a democracy" (M. Bloomfield, 1911, p. 115). In 1910, Hugo Diemer, a professor of industrial engineering at Pennsylvania State University, suggested that the labor function was then large enough to warrant specialization, including a discipline focused on hiring, wages, and efficiency records. Bloomfield agreed with the idea of taking the hiring function away from foremen yet went further in writing that as of yet, no profession concentrated on the industrial employee as a human being. Thus, Bloomfield worked to form the field of personnel management, first calling it the "The New Profession of Handling Men" (M. Bloomfield, 1915a).
What he termed his guidance-in-industry project had many similarities to his guidance-in-schools project. Bloomfield believed that these two projects depended on each other. In his opinion, the VGB needed the cooperation of employers for it to succeed. So, in the fall of 1911, Bloomfield held a meeting of men in the Greater Boston area who were responsible for hiring employees for their firms. Allen (1925) had asked 200 men during his occupational investigations whether they would attend a conference at some time if one should be assembled by the VGB to consider the common problems of employment. Allen invited 60 men from among those he had interviewed because they worked at progressive firms and expressed interest in vocational guidance. At the initial meeting, Bloomfield told participants that VGB's work would fail if subsequent employment opportunities "nullify" their value. The group continued to meet, and on December 12, 1912, led by Bloomfield and his brother Daniel, they formally organized as the Employment Managers Association (Eilbert, 1959) with headquarters in the Boston City Club (Allen, 1925). This association was the first in the world dedicated to the new business specialty of employment management, a term first used in July 1910 by Allen (1925) in one of his questionnaires. Shortly thereafter, the specialty of employment management became known as personnel management. According to M. Bloomfield (1915c), the purpose of the Employment Managers Association was to "promote the employers' contribution to vocational guidance" (p. 48). The association's constitution listed three objectives: (a) discuss problems of employee training and efficiency,(b) compare experiences in running an employment department, and (c) study questions connected to the most effective employment of young people (M. Bloomfield, 1915c). The members of the association met monthly as a whole. Four separate discussion groups also met monthly to discuss selection, training, management, and social work. Because of his belief that their interests overlap, Bloomfield made sure that the Employment Managers Association accepted educators as members. Within this association, the first recognized experts on personnel management worked as consultants who were at the time called "counselors," the most prominent of the counselors being Bloomfield.
The members of the Boston association encouraged several eastern universities to establish a course on employment management. They submitted a tentative outline for a course on employment management to the Amos Tuck School of Dartmouth College, which became the first university course on "The Function of Employment Management" in the fall of 1914. Bloomfield was one of the lecturers. To provide a book for such courses, in May 1916, M. Bloomfield coedited with Joseph Willits (who in 1933 became dean of the Wharton School) the first collection of 32 articles on employment management, similar in many ways to his Readings in Vocational Guidance in 1915.
The employment management movement soon spread to other cities. Subsequently, Bloomfield, as program chair and secretary, helped to organize the First National Conference of Employment Managers held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 19-20, 1916 (U.S. Department of Labor, 1916, p. 42). On June 1, 1916, Walter Dill Scott, who had been writing articles on a new way of selecting sales personnel, joined Walter Van Dyke Bingham at Carnegie Tech where they developed objective methods for selecting salespeople, including a rating scale, an aptitude test, and an interest inventory (Savickas & Baker, 2005). The employment management field blossomed around 1918 when employers became desperate for ways to reduce labor unrest and high rates of turnover caused by the political and economic difficulties associated with World War I. Shortly thereafter, business leaders hoped to replicate the success that the U.S. Army had in hiring psychologists to use aptitude and intelligence tests to screen recruits (Kaufman, 2000). The National Association of Employment Managers was formed in 1918 and later became known as the American Management Association.
After 1915, when the Boston Public Schools took over individual counseling of students from the VGB, Bloomfield had increasingly turned his attention to employment management so that by 1917, he was spending his entire time consulting on how to set up a centralized employment department and publicizing the field of employment management. He studied the qualifications, duties, and opportunities for employment managers. In January 1917, Bloomfield became editor of "The Employment Manager's Department," a new section in a magazine called Industrial Management. In the third installment, M. Bloomfield (1917c) wrote that he preferred the term personnel manager to employment manager. In the June issue, M. Bloomfield (1917b) concentrated on foremanship, especially the relation of supervisors to employees. On February 22, 1917, he had given a keynote address to foremen and supervisors of the International Harvester Company. He told them about the new foremanship, meaning that workers should be treated as human beings not machines. The question and answer period ran 2.5 hours. In due course, Bloomfield became editor-in-chief of the 12 manuals for the LaSalle Extension University course titled "Modern Foremanship and Production Methods'" (Diemer, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, & Dahm, 1921), with his brother Daniel as associate editor and Hugo Diemer as course director.
In 1917, after teaching summer school at Teachers College, Columbia University, Bloomfield began war work. Initially, he was appointed employment manager on government work. at the Bethlehem Steel's Fore River Shipbuilding Yards in Quincy, Massachusetts. In September 1917, he was called to Washington, DC, by General Goethals, renowned builder of the Panama Canal, who was then serving at President Wilson's request as general manager and director of the Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation of the U.S. government. The emergency was the poor performance of shipyard workers at a time when the U.S. Navy needed to build a fleet that made "a bridge to France." In October 1917, there were 88,000 shipyard workers; a year later, they numbered 385,000. The huge influx of workers exacerbated existing labor relations problems. For example, strikes increased from 27 in 1916 to 101 in 1917. For 1917, the turnover rate was 235% and the absentee rate was 1 in 6 days. Relations between shipyard owners and employees were hostile, with most shipyard owners refusing to deal with unions.
To improve employment methods and working conditions at shipyards, Goethals formed the Department of Industrial Service in the Construction Division of the Emergency Fleet Corporation. He recruited Bloomfield as the department chief to address labor problems in the shipyards, stating that not a single shipyard had an employment manager. Part of Bloomfield's task was to convince owners and foremen to hire employment managers. He organized an educational campaign and hosted regional and national conferences to persuade owners to hire employment managers, the first being the New England Shipbuilders Conference held at the Boston Chamber of Commerce Building on October 1, 1917 (U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1917). Having convinced some owners about the need for these managers, Bloomfield then established a crash course to train shipyard personnel in employment management. The Emergency Fleet Corporation paid shipyard owners to send potential managers to the course. Within 6 months, Bloomfield had trained 70 individuals. Training materials included a series of short books about "Employment Management in the Shipyard," including Aids to Employment Managers and Interviewers on Shipyard Occupations (Employment Management Branch, 1918) and Opportunities in Shipyards for the Physically Handicapped (Employment Management Branch, 1919). By the end of World War I, 34 shipyards had employment managers. All told, the U.S. government had spent $300 million to teach 350,000 men and 130 new managers how to build ships (Hurley, 1927).
After the war, Bloomfield was recognized as responsible in large measure for the success of the emergency shipbuilding program. Notwithstanding this success, he was 41 years old and without a job following the armistice of 1918. Bloomfield could not return to the VGB because, when he entered government service, the VGB trustees transferred the VGB along with the services of Allen to the Division of Education at Harvard University, which named it the Bureau of Vocational Guidance. Roy Willmath Kelly, then a high school principal in Fall River, was appointed the first director and instructor in education. Allen remained the assistant director. John Brewer succeeded Kelly as director in 1919, after the position was declined by Jesse B. Davis. During the war, the VGB had assisted Bloomfield by training employment managers and collecting occupation information. At the request of Bloomfield and the Industrial Service Department, Kelly and Allen wrote a recruiting booklet titled "Shipyard Employment: A Place for Men to Help Win the War" (Bureau of Vocational Guidance, Division of Education, Harvard University, 1918). Also, in 1918, they published a book titled The Shipbuilding Industry. That book described and interpreted the war emergency shipbuilding program for shipyard employees and others. After the war, Allen served the VGB as coordinator of vocational counseling for disabled ex-servicemen. He eventually counseled over 300 veterans. The industrial depression of 1920 led Brewer to decide in 1921 to concentrate on educational and vocational guidance for students, leaving employment management to business schools. Brewer was also instrumental in reorganizing the National Vocational Guidance Association. Because of war work, interest in the earlier organization by the same name had dwindled until there was no annual meeting or new officers after Bloomfield completed his term as president in 1918. Brewer became the first president of the reorganized association on February 19, 1920.
After the armistice, Bloomfield looked for new challenges. He published a book called Labor and Compensation (M. Bloomfield, 1918) and spent a substantial amount of time traveling overseas. For a short time after the war, he worked as a YMCA emissary to Russia, something that Albertson (1920) had done during the war. In 1919, The Saturday Evening Post sent Bloomfield to Europe to investigate how countries were converting wartime enterprises to peacetime use. The results appeared as a series of articles for The Saturday Evening Post, which M. Bloomfield (1919b) compiled in the book titled Management and Men. While in England, he was interviewed by the London Daily News, which published his long article (M. Bloom-field, 1919a) about employment management being a new profession in America. When he returned to Boston, Bloomfield and his brother Daniel founded a consulting firm called "Bloomfield and Bloomfield, Consultants in Employment Management and Industrial Relations." In 1922, President Harding sent Bloomfield to Russia as a confidential advisor. Subsequently, he made several trips to Russia and other parts of Europe to study social conditions and to represent American business firms.
In 1923, Bloomfield ended the partnership with his brother Daniel and moved to New York City where he specialized in immigration law. He also served as a labor advisor and attorney for several New York and Boston firms, occasionally working as arbitrator or conciliator. He also conducted job analyses and made compensation recommendations for firms such as the Bamberger and Company Department Store in Newark. At the end of his career, he again concentrated on vocational guidance. Returning to his alma mater in 1929, Bloomfield was appointed advisor to students and professor of vocational guidance at the City College of New York. In 1935, he became an advisor to Hunter College. He died on March 12, 1938, at the age of 60 after 6 weeks in Presbyterian Hospital suffering from liver ailments. His funeral at Riverside Chapel was attended by many dignitaries including the presidents of Hunter and of City College and by the Superintendent of Schools. He was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Westchester County in New York.
Three years after Bloomfield's death, his son Lincoln Palmer graduated from Harvard. In his memoir, L. P. Bloomfield (2005) told the story of how, as a junior at Harvard, he became disenchanted with his premed studies. In part to explore his own future, he chaired the first intercollegiate conference on careers in government and community service, over the objections of President James Bryant Conant, who "felt strongly that Harvard should not be in the business of vocational guidance" (L. P. Bloomfield, 2005, p. 6). Bloomfield's son indeed went on to a career in government service, concentrating on diplomacy and international security and eventually becoming director of global issues for the National Security Council and a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As I was in the process of writing this article, on January 24, 2008, the White House Press Office announced that President Bush had accorded to Bloomfield's grandson, Lincoln Palmer Bloomfield Jr., the personal rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy for aviation missile threat reduction (http://www.state. gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jan/99683.htm).
Rather than take a psychological perspective, Bloomfield took a social one. Although the psychological perspective seemed to blame people for their situations, Bloomfield blamed the social situation. He considered the vocational situation of individuals in view of their family, neighborhood, school, and church. Although vocational psychologists followed the new individual psychology from Europe, Bloomfield preferred the approach of clinical casework. Similar to other East Coast leaders of the vocational guidance movement, such as Brewer and Harry Dexter Kitson, Bloomfield had little confidence in psychological tests, preferring instead the methods of exploration, information, and self-study. Rather than psychology, he based his ideas on social theory. Today his approach is called person-in-environment (Wapner & Demick, 2000), meaning that the person is embedded in and inseparable from the environment. Accordingly, the unit of analysis is the transaction or experience. This more constructivist model contrasts to the positivist model of person-environment fit in which the unit of analysis is the interaction between isolated person variables (e.g., ability or interests) and isolated environment variables (e.g., job requirements or rewards).
Bloomfield believed that the fields of vocational guidance and human resource management should be closely linked, with practitioners of each communicating frequently to improve the work lives of people in the community. He worried that the work of vocational guidance could be nullified without this interprofessional collaborationa, a fear that some counselors share today as they call for more collaboration with human resource managers. Those counselors who seek this reconciliation may take inspiration and ideas from Bloomfield, who devoted his life to closing the gap between school and work. As M. Bloomfield (1915b) once wrote, "the solution to this problem means making school life more interesting and purposeful and making working life more educative and productive" (p. vi).
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Mark L.Savickas, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mark L. Savickas, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Northeastern Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, 4209 State Route 44, Rootstown, OH 44272 (e-mail: email@example.com).
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|Author:||Savickas, Mark L.|
|Publication:||Career Development Quarterly|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2009|
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