What Are WPA Jobs? - 1936
WORKERS' HANDBOOK - WPA
- Question. What is WPA?
- Answer. The WPA is one of several Federal agencies established by the President and Congress to bring about recovery by giving work to the unemployed.
- Q. Are there other agencies of the Government that have been set up to provide work for the unemployed?
- A. Yes. Among these are the Public Works Administration (PWA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Resettlement Administration (RA).
- Q. What is the largest number of workers these agencies ever employed?
- A. During February 1936 the total number of men and women working was 3,853,000. As a result of an increase in private industry and seasonal agricultural employment more than 500,000 fewer are employed on work projects now (July 1936) .
- Q. Does the WPA give relief without work?
- A. No. Direct relief is generally taken care of by the local people.
- Q. Can any unemployed person get a job on WPA?
- A. No, only those able-bodied unemployed persons who are in greatest need and who have been so certified by a local agency.
- Q. Will all those certified by such local agency be given work?
- A. Not necessarily. WPA is limited by the amount of money appropriated by Congress.
- Q. How many people in one family are allowed to work on WPA?
- A. Generally only one. If the family has a boy in the CCC camps or one of the family is getting work with the National Youth Administration (NYA), that does not necessarily keep the head of the family from working on WPA. Of course, no one under 18 years of age can be hired, except in NYA.
- Q. Can old people or sick people work on WPA?
- A. Certainly not if they are sick or so old that it is not safe for them or for others who work around them.
- Q. Do race or color or beliefs keep a man from getting work on WPA?
- A. No.
- Q. Do these rules apply to women workers as well as men?
- A. Yes. (There are about 400,000 women working in the WPA.)
WHAT ARE WPA JOBS?
- Q. Why does the WPA have these projects?
- A. In order to provide employment on useful projects for you and for other qualified persons who cannot find employment in private industry.
- Q. Is WPA the same thing as emergency relief?
- A. No. When we had the Emergency Relief Program, many workers did not get a chance to work for the money they received. Under WPA you earn a monthly wage for the work you do.
- Q. When I take a Government job, am I still on relief?
- A. No. You are off relief. You are working.
- Q. What is the chance of getting a job at my regular trade?
- A. If you are not working at your regular trade on the project, it is probably because there are no jobs open for your particular trade. This is one of the toughest problems the Work Program has had to meet, because the Government projects don't call for many different trades. Many skilled workers have to take common labor jobs. For example, it is impossible to hire skilled miners, skilled tailors, and skilled weavers on Government projects. The Work Program does not have projects like these, because they would interfere with private business. You should file an application at the National Reemployment Service office for work at the trade you know. They will let you know if they get a call for a man of your experience.
Links to Sections from the WPA Brochure from 1936 - "Our Job with the WPA"
- Letter by Harry L. Hopkins
- Workers' Handbook - WPA; What Are WPA Jobs?
- How Long Will The Jobs Last?; Questions Workers Most Often Ask - Pay; Things You Can Be Docked For
- Working Time; Dismissals; Complaints
- Accidents and Compensation; Safety; Unions
- General Questions: Private Jobs; Work Card; Getting A Job Near Home; Carfare; Your Opinion of the Job You Do; Conclusion
- We Have a WPA Job; Why can't we get private jobs?; What happens to us when we are on the dole; Work Keeps Us From Going Nuts
- Uncle Sam set up the WPA as the answer; The good we are doing; Our Working and Spending Keep Many Businesses Alive