State Labor Reserves of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

State Labor Reserves of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


a system for the organized training of new industrial workers from the urban and rural youth in order to provide the necessary labor reserves for the national economy. On Oct. 2. 1940. the ukase of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR entitled On the State Labor Reserves of the USSR was ratified.

One of the basic aims of the state labor reserves is the planned mass training of skilled industrial workers and the organized assignment of these workers. In 1940 three types of schools were set up: (1) trade schools with a two-year period of instruction for training skilled metalworkers, metallurgical workers, chemical workers, miners, and oil workers, as well as skilled workers for maritime transport, communications enterprises, and others; (2) railroad schools with a two-year period of instruction for training assistant engineers, repairmen for steam locomotives and railway cars, boilermakers, track repair foremen, and other workers for the complex railroad transport professions; (3) factory-plant training schools (FZO) with a six-month period of instruction for training workers of the general industrial professions and above all for the coal, ore mining, metallurgical, and petroleum industries, as well as construction. The state assumed the complete material support of all the students. In May 1941 the schools of the state labor reserves had already graduated 250,000 young workers for industry, construction, and railroad transport.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), when the regular workers had left the enterprises for the front, the state labor reserves were particularly important. During this period, the vocational and technical educational schools trained 2,480,000 young skilled workers. At a number of enterprises, particularly those in the eastern regions of the country, the graduates of the labor reserve schools made up more than half the entire work force. The graduates of the labor reserve schools were also sent into the liberated regions to rebuild the destroyed enterprises. Thus, around 20,000 students were sent to rebuild the coal mines and power stations of the Donbas. In August 1945 the Soviet of People’s Commissars approved the decree entitled On Measures to Improve Teaching and Educational Work in the Trade, Railroad, and FZO Schools. In 1946 the mining schools were converted from a six-month period of instruction to a ten-month term. In 1949 the trade and FZO schools training skilled workers for the coal and ore mining industries were transformed into ore mining schools with the same period of instruction. According to a decision of the September (1953) plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, agricultural mechanization schools were organized within the state labor reserve system to train skilled agricultural equipment operators in a period of from six months to two years.

In line with the gradual transition in the USSR to universal secondary education, a new type of institution of learning was created in 1954 within the state labor reserve system: technical schools for young persons who had finished the general educational secondary schools. The technical schools in a period of from one to two years trained skilled workers in the professions requiring a higher general educational level, as well as junior technical personnel. The state labor reserve schools and training centers trained workers in approximately 700 professions. Their training consisted of production and theoretical training, physical education, and extracurricular work. Depending upon the type of school and the character of the job, from 50 to 85 percent of the training time was devoted to production training. Theoretical training included a number of special, general-technical, and general-educational subjects, as well as a course on political knowledge. Extracurricular work included all types of technical creativity, amateur musical and literary-dramatic activity, work in the fine arts, and participation in various scientific study groups. Upon completion of the studies and the passing of exams, workers were offered a job in their profession. State reserve schools were attached to enterprises for which the labor force was being trained. In 1957, on the basis of the FZO schools that trained workers in the construction specialties, two-year construction schools were set up.

Beginning in 1959, along with most of the departmental permanent institutions of learning that trained employees, all the FZO schools and the trade, railroad, ore mining, and construction schools, as well as the agricultural mechanization schools, vocational-technical schools, factory-plant apprenticeship schools, and the other vocational schools that had previously made up the state labor reserve system, were transformed into vocational-technical schools with a period of instruction of from one to three years and into rural vocational-technical schools with a period of instruction of one to two years. In the same year the state labor reserve schools were turned over to the Union republics, while the Main Administration for Labor Reserves under the Council of Ministers of the USSR (which previously had control over these institutions of learning) was transformed into the State Committee for Vocational-Technical Education under the Council of Ministers.


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