Vocational Rehabilitation

(Monday, Mar. 23, 1936, 7:45 p. m., eastern standard time, 
WMAL and National Broadcasting Co. network)

FIRST NEWSBOY. Extra! Extra! Education in the news! Extra! All about 
vocational rehabilitation! Extra! Extra! Education in the news! [Fading]

SECOND NEWSBOY (fading in). Extra! Extra! Story of the handicapped! Education 
in the news! [Fading.] Extra! Extra!

ANNOUNCER. The news in education this week concerns vocational rehabilitation 
and what it means to the physically handicapped. It[s] scope is Nation-wide. 
It deals with making employables of the disabled.

CITIZEN. What'd he say?

HALLOCK. Vocational rehabilitation.

CITIZEN. That's a mouthful. What does it mean when it's broken down into 
little pieces?

HALLOCK. There are many people who are handicapped by accident, disease, or 
birth. It is not enough that we help them back to physical recovery, as far as 
possible, but we must help them to become self-supporting again. That is what 
we mean by vocational rehabilitation.

CITIZEN. But what has the Office of Education to do with this?

HALLOCK. Education is the big end of it. For instance, say a man is a mechanic 
and he suffers the loss of his legs. He can no longer do the work he is 
trained for, so the vocational specialist must step in and find some new work 
he can do sitting down, and then help train him to do it, and, lastly, assist 
him in finding a job.

CITIZEN. You mean to say they are doing all that?

HALLOCK. Exactly. It is now an integral part of the social security program.

CITIZEN. Well, that's certainly an advancement over the past.

HALLOCK. I'll say it is. Just how great an advancement you don't realize yet. 
Let me show you a few flashes of the past--starting with Aristotle and coming 
down to date.

ANNOUNCER. Two thousand years ago, Aristotle, that Greek philosopher, said:

ARISTOTLE. Let it be a law that nothing deformed shall be permitted to live.

ANNOUNCER. And so the handicapped of those "good old days" were destroyed.

CITIZEN. H'm! That's one way of settling the problem. I'm glad we passed that!

HALLOCK. Wait! Listen!

ANNOUNCER. In the ninth century King Charlemagne of France said:

King C. Such persons are cursed with evil spirits. Burn them at the stake!


HALLOCK. Not much progress yet.

ANNOUNCER. The sixteenth century. In the palace of Henry VIII of England.

HENRY VIII. Heh, heh, heh! So he's a cripple, is he? If he's ugly and deformed 
enough I'll make him a court jester. Throw him a bone under the table! Let him 
eat with the rest of the dogs! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Now, bring me another wench!

CITIZEN. Of all the inhuman----

HALLOCK. Wait a little longer.

ANNOUNCER. Two hundred years ago!

VOICE OF 1736. In 1730 nothing at all was done about the disabled!

ANNOUNCER. One hundred and fifty years ago George Washington said:

WASHINGTON. The time is therefore come when a plan of universal education 
ought to be adopted in the United States.


VOICE or 1918. As an outgrowth of the World War, with thousands of returning 
soldiers, without arms or legs, or even shell-shocked, what to do with them 
becomes a problem. Congress passes a law providing for a program of vocational 
rehabilitation for the war disabled.


VOICE OF 1920. More people disabled in industry each year than were disabled 
in the war. Congress passes a law providing for the rehabilitation of persons 
disabled in industry or otherwise.


VOICE OF TODAY. Today practically every State in the Union is cooperating with 
the Federal Government under the terms of this rehabilitation act.

CITIZEN. Well, it's about time we were doing something like this. It seems to 
have taken us a thousand years to get started!

HALLOCK. Yes, humanity is always slow to act for its own welfare!

CITIZEN. Tell me, how is it working out?

HALLOCK. We'll see. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. Amsterdam Avenue, New York. A streetcar roars down the hill! The 
air fails! The motorman tugs at the hand brakes! But they stick!

SOUND. (Runaway streetcar. Frantic jangling of bell.)

MOTORMAN. Hey! Joe! Open that back door! Shove those passengers off! Air's 
gone! She'll jump the track any minute!

SOUND. (Shrieks of frightened passengers. Roar of car.)

LADY. (Shrieks.) But my child!

CONDUCTOR. I'll take her!

MOTORMAN. Jump! She's leaving the rails!

CONDUCTOR. Jump, yourself! Everybody's off!

MOTORMAN. (Note.) I'll stick! Maybe I can slow her up a little more before she 

SOUND. (Car leaving rails and crashing into a brick building. Cries from 
crowd. Wail of ambulance siren fades in.)

ANNOUNCER. In the office of the streetcar company's president.

PRESIDENT. What is it, dispatcher?

DISPATCHER. Motorman Bill Thompson's car! Airbrakes jammed! Jumped the tracks! 
Crashed through a two-story building!

PRESIDENT. Anybody hurt?

DISPATCHER. Only Thompson. He stuck.


DISPATCHER. Don't know, yet; hospital hasn't reported; but I guess he won't 
run any more cars. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. And so, Bill Thompson, in saving the lives of a score of 
passengers, lost the use of his own legs. Newspapers told of his heroism. The 
public donated several thousand dollars. But that didn't solve the problem of 
Bill's future.

CITIZEN. What happened to Bill Thompson, anyway?

HALLOCK. What happened to Bill Thompson is what can happen to every disabled 
person who is too proud or who has too much courage to become a public charge. 

ANNOUNCER. The State rehabilitation has been called in. In the office of 
Director Sawyer.

SAWYER. Here's the case of Bill Thompson. He's the motorman whose legs were 
crushed in that streetcar accident, 8 months ago. He's out of the hospital. 
Mr. Davis, call on him and see what we can do.

DAVIS. Yes, I remember that. Call up the streetcar company?


DAVIS. What'd they say?

SAWYER. They'll take him back if we can find something for him to do.

DAVIS. I'll see him right away. [Fades out.]

SOUND. [Ringing doorbell. Door opens. Voices and cries of young children heard 
from inside.]

DAVIS. Mrs. Thompson?

Mrs. T. Yes. What is it?

DAVIS. I'm from the State rehabilitation department. May I speak to your 
husband for a minute?

Mrs. T. Why, yes; only please be careful. He's awfully cross and blue today; 
he's so discouraged. [Sound. Door closes.]

DAVIS. How's Bill Thompson today?

BILL (voice coming up). Not so good. Things look too hopeless for me.

DAVIS. Why? I thought your legs were coming on all right.

BILL. But what'll I do? I can't be a motorman now. That's the only trade I 
know. And I gotta family of six to support.

DAVIS. That's exactly what I want to see you about. The company'll take you 
back, if we can fit you for something. Isn't there some other kind of work 
that you'd like?

BILL. Well, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a bookkeeper. But from now on, it 
looks like all I'm fit to do's peddle shoestrings.

DAVIS. Bill Thompson, no self-respecting man has to peddle, if he doesn't want 

BILL. But I don't know bookkeeping.

DAVIS. We'll help train you. We'll enroll you in business school tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER. Six months later. Bill Thompson finishes his business course, and 
reports back to his old employer, the streetcar company. The president 
interviews him.

PRESIDENT. Bill, I'm glad you're back. Your job is waiting for you. How do you 

BILL. Fine. Vocational rehabilitation sure put me on the right track. Got 
braces for my legs. Almost as good as new. And trained me for an accountant, 

PRESIDENT. That's great. And I'm sure you're going to like your new work.

ANNOUNCER. Two years later. Bill Thompson is made head accountant for the 
streetcar company. [Fades.]

HALLOCK. There you are, Mr. Citizen--a real case. What do you think of that?

CITIZEN. Say, that's not bad, at all.

HALLOCK. And all that Bill Thompson's rehabilitation cost the State was $300. 
Wasn't it worth it?

CITIZEN. Worth it? Why, it was a bargain. Aside from the pure humanitarian 
standpoint, we take a man who has become a burden on society, and by a small 
investment, make him self-supporting. Why, that's plain dollars-and-cents good 
sense. Beside making him happier.

HALLOCK. Of course. The Office of Education is willing, through cooperating 
State agencies, to help anyone who has any physical disability.

CITIZEN. Where does the Federal Government come in on this?

HALLOCK. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Office of Education 
not only grants Federal funds to the States but it also aids them in 
establishing and maintaining services for rehabilitating the disabled.

CITIZEN. Does the Government, or the States set up separate schools for this 

HALLOCK. No. The disabled can engage in employment as freely as those not 
disabled. So their preparation for employment is through the established 
agencies which train the able-bodied as well.

CITIZEN. How much does this cost the State?

HALLOCK. The States must match all Federal funds.

CITIZEN. What are these costs?

HALLOCK. To administer the program, to train the disabled, for instructional 
supplies, for artificial appliances when they are necessary vocational aids to 
employment, for transportation of trainees.

CITIZEN. I'd say that was a sound program.

HALLOCK. You bet it is. [Fade.]

ANNOUNCER. During a flu epidemic in the Middle West. Mary Smith was a nurse. 
After 72 hours of continual duty, she too was stricken. Later the doctor talks 
to her mother.

DOCTOR. Mrs. Smith, as I told you, your daughter will recover, but will be 
totally deaf.

MOTHER. It seems so hard to bear. And it means that my daughter must give up 

DOCTOR. It looks that way.

MOTHER. Oh, I don't know what we'll do [almost breaking down]. Mary was our 
sole support.

DOCTOR. Please, Mrs. Smith, I think we can find other work for her. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. And so, after Mary Smith has been discharged from the hospital. The 
director of the State rehabilitation department has Mary and her mother in his 

DIRECTOR. Mrs. Smith, I think we can do something for your daughter. There is 
an opening at the State School for the Deaf. We'll train Mary for that job. 

MOTHER. Oh, I'm so happy. And I know my daughter is, too. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. Two years later, Mary Smith teaches lip reading at the State School 
for the Deaf. Her salary is $3,000 a year. [Fades.]

CITIZEN. That's more than many nurses make.

HALLOCK. Yes. And the work is easier.

CITIZEN. Do you know how many disabled there are in the United States? 

HALLOCK. Each year, nearly 400,000 persons suffer accident or disease. About 
80,000 of these will be unable to return to their jobs or to enter their 
chosen vocations.

CITIZEN. What are the chief kinds of accidents?

HALLOCK. Public accidents lead all others. This class includes all accidents 
not of an industrial nature. It includes auto tragedies and accidents in the 
home. And, by the way, Mr. Citizen, auto accidents are increasing 40 percent 
every 4 years.

CITIZEN. My! That's a frightful toll! It's lucky we've got a plan to help 
them. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. In a little mining hamlet in the West! A father and the teacher in 
the school talk.

TEACHER. I don't think we can do much more for your son, Mr. Travis. In spite 
of his handicap, he should be in high school.

FATHER. That's 5 miles away. He can't walk that far. Frank's got a right smart 
mind. Only he was born with a weak back.

TEACHER. Yes; I know. There's nothing at all for him in this village.

FATHER. I'm only a poor man. There's 10 others, too, in our family. I don't 
know what will come of Frank. Looks like I'll have to put him in a home. 

TEACHER. No; you won't! I'll write to the State rehabilitation board tonight. 
Maybe they can do something for Frank. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. So Frank Wade was put on horseback and trundled over 5 miles of 
rough mountain road, his father holding the bridle all the way. In the office 
of the State supervisor of vocational rehabilitation the father lifts him into 
a chair, saying:

FATHER. Well, son, here we are. Mr. Hodges will see us in a minute. Here he is 

HODGES. (Coming up.) Well, Frank, I'm glad to see you. I've studied your case, 
and I'm sure we can help you. We find that you could be fitted for a 
watchmaker, a teacher, a show-card writer, a bookkeeper, or, in fact, any 
profession of a seated nature.

FATHER. But, Mr. Hodges. His back? He has to be lifted wherever he wants to 

HODGES. I have a report from our doctors. With proper orthapedic appliances we 
can remedy that.

FRANK. You mean I can get around by myself?

HODGES. Yes; within limited areas.

FRANK. Say, pop, I've always wanted to be a watchmaker.

HODGES. Then, we will train Frank to be a watchmaker. [Fades.]

ANNOUNCER. This young man, advised by skilled medical science that his 
physical handicap was permanent, at the age of 26, with only 6 years of 
schooling as a background, was trained to be a skilled watch and clock 
repairman. Moreover, he was established in his own business. He was so 
successful that soon a large railroad made him their official watch inspector. 
This railroad had enough confidence in him to let him guide their extra-fast 
limited trains. This indicates the skill of this rehabilitated young man.

CITIZEN. Whew. If you ask me--that's a thriller in education.

HALLOCK. It really is; for you see this vocational rehabilitation most nearly 
approaches the ideal in education.

CITIZEN. How's that?

HALLOCK. The personally planned training is for each and every individual. 

CITIZEN. I see. In this work you mean that each person is studied individually 
and then trained in the thing that he personally can best do.

HALLOCK. That's it, in a nutshell.

ANNOUNCER. And now. A short talk by Mr. John A. Kratz, Chief, Vocational 
Rehabilitation Division, Office of Education, Washington, D. C. 

Mr. KRATZ. In these days of shortage of employment, opportunity, and surplus 
of workers, it is interesting to note that employability is not to be based 
upon physical fitness alone. I think that it must be gratifying to the 
disabled of this country to know that we are engaged in a service which will 
give them an opportunity, not only to prepare themselves for employment but 
which will also place them after their period of training has ended.

ANNOUNCER. Those were the words of Mr. John A. Kratz, Chief of the Vocational 
Rehabilitation Division, Office of Education, Washington, D. C. If any of you 
who are listening are among the physically handicapped--or you know any such 
who should be taking advantage of this opportunity--may we urge you to get in 
touch with the rehabilitation service in your own State capital. 

Next week, "Education in the News" will bring you the highlights of the music 
educators national conference in New York City. We know you will want to know 
the latest developments musically in our schools. Next week--same station--
same time. This program is a presentation of the educational radio project of 
the Office of Education, United States Department of the Interior, and comes 
to you from our studios in Washington. This is the National Broadcasting Co.
Broadcast date: 23 March 1936