The Industrial Revolution and the Vocational Guidance Movement
At the turn of the 20th century the United States was rapidly changing from a rural, agrarian society to an urban, industrial society. People were flocking to cities in the Northeast and Midwest looking for employment. These included out-of-work farmers, minorities, and a large influx of immigrants, mainly from Europe. Because schooling was compulsory in these states, large numbers of children flooded the school systems. There was a fear that these children of immigrants and poor farmers from the South would pose an economic and moral crisis. Some feared that they would not be educable and would be unemployable. Others feared that their strange new customs might challenge the "American” moral code. Therefore, there was a push to create vocational training and moral guidance in these cities. Responding to these challenges were pioneers in guidance who would become known as the founders of school counseling such as Jesse B. Davis, Frank Parsons, and Eli Weaver (Erford, 2013). Vocational guidance also grew because of strong social reform and progressive education movements that sought to improve the plight of immigrants and factory workers and educate all Americans. State certification of "guidance counselors” (now called school counselors) began in 1924, as you will learn more about in chapter 9.
Counselors were employed in the schools to help all children succeed, a goal still relevant to professional school counselors today.