Skilled Immigrants and American Industrialization: Lessons from Newport News Shipyard
W Hanlon ()
Business History Review, 2018, vol. 92, issue 4, 605-632
In the late nineteenth century, American shipyards started building modern metal ships, a sector dominated by the British. But, they faced a challenge: a shortage of domestic workers with the skills to fabricate large metal ships. Using census of population data, this article describes how one important U.S. shipyard, Newport News Shipbuilding, overcame the shortage of skilled domestic workers to assemble an effective labor force. The results show that skilled immigrants, mainly from Britain, played an important role in the shipyard's early life while, over time, native workers were trained to fill skilled occupations.
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