WPA, CCC offered real work, not handouts

Posted: Aug. 11, 2011 9:00 am Updated: Oct. 15, 2014 10:15 am


To The Herald-Whig:

The WPA (Works Progress Administration) was established in 1935 and redesigned in 1939. It offered work to the unemployed on an unprecedented scale by spending money on programs, including highways and building construction, slum clearance, reforestation, and rural rehabilitation.

By March, 1936, the WPA rolls reached a total of more than 3,400,000 workers; after initial cuts in June 1939, it averaged 2,300,000 monthly workers; and by June 30, 1943, when it was officially terminated, the WPA had employed more than 8,500,000 persons on 1,410,000 individual projects, and had spent about $11 billion, but had something to show for it. During its 8-year history, the WPA built 651,087 miles of highways, roads, and streets; and constructed, repaired, or improved 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 airport landing fields.

Another group was the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). It was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. Principal benefits of an individual's enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. Of their pay of $30 a month, $25 went to their parents. Implicitly, the CCC led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources. During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas. Despite its popular support, the CCC was never a permanent agency.

I believe the CCC or WPA built QU-Stadium and many roads in Quincy's parks as well as many state parks in Illinois, like Pere Marquette Lodge.

The government didn't just hand out money and let people sit on their problems. They gave them hope and something to do and then gave them money.

Why is our government so blind that they can't see that perhaps this is something they could re-invent until our nation is back on its feet? I am sure that each city and state could create a list of things to be done by a group like this.

If you know the answer, please post it here and let the rest of us know.


Mike Schuttler



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