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Questions & Answers on the WPA - 1939

Cover of the Booklet "Questions and Answers on the WPA," Works Progress Administration

Cover of the Booklet "Questions and Answers on the WPA," Works Progress Administration F.C. Harrington Administrator, US Government Printing Office No. 16-8068, 17 April 1939, 26 Pages. The booklet provides answers to 66 Frequently Asked Questions regarding the WPA, its Workers and the Program. GGA Image ID # 151292678b

Topical Sections

  • General Questions and Answers on the WPA
  • WPA Employment
  • Wages and Hours
  • Unions
  • Safety and Compensation
  • Administration, Supervision and Finances
  • Politics
  • Private Industry
  • WPA Workers
  • Accomplishments
  • Emergency Employment provided by Other Federal Agencies

Commentary

This 1939 brochure on the WPA is excellent as the content is appropriate for both Middle and High School study -- especially when integrated with other coursework on the Great Depression and the New Deal.

Introduction

As a governmental unit the WPA cooperates with States, counties, cities, and towns, and with various other public agencies, departments, and bureaus. As a work-relief program it is geared to meet the changing conditions of unemployment.

For these reasons the WPA program is necessarily a complex one.

Many taxpayers (and we are all taxpayers in one way or another) do not understand how the WPA operates—what it does, what it does not do, and why.

This is shown by the many inquiries that come to our State and Washington offices.

It is for the purpose of answering these inquiries, and of informing the American people about the WPA program, that this factual question-and-answer booklet has been prepared.

F. C. HARRINGTON,
Administrator,
April 17, 1939.

General Questions and Answers on the WPA

What is the WPA?

The Works Progress Administration is a Federal agency which cooperates with State and local governments in carrying out needed public improvements and services, in order to provide work and wages for the needy able-bodied unemployed. The local governments plan and sponsor the projects, and the WPA helps to operate them.

What Other Federal Agencies Provide Emergency Employment?

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); the National Youth Administration (NYA); the Public Works Administration (PWA); and those agencies which operate emergency projects in addition to their regular programs.

Does the WPA Give Relief Without Work?

No. Direct relief is provided by States and localities and is intended primarily for the care of unemployable people.

Why Does the Federal Government Give Work to the Able-Bodied Needy Unemployed, Instead of Direct Relief?

This policy was adopted in the conviction that work is better than direct relief—because work preserves the skills and self-respect of the workers and makes them fit to return to private industry; because our communities are greatly in need of the public projects on which the unemployed are set to work; and because work projects bring a valuable return to the communities and the Nation for money expended in assisting the unemployed.

What is a WPA Project?

It is any useful public work on which the Federal Government and some tax-supported public body have agreed to cooperate, through the WPA, in order to provide work for the needy unemployed. The project is a community or State enterprise which the WPA helps to carry out; the completed project belongs to the community or State.

Are WPA Projects Planned Locally or Federally?

Ninety-five percent of all WPA expenditures are for projects planned by such local sponsors as city councils, county commissioners, and boards of education, or State agencies. The arts projects of the WPA are chief among the few planned by the Federal Government.

What is the Sponsor of a WPA Project?

The sponsor of a WPA project is a State, municipal, or other governmental agency which proposes that the WPA assist it in carrying out a local public improvement or public service. Plans and specifications for the work are submitted by the sponsor.

The proposed work must be one which the sponsor has legal authority to do. Since the WPA must use its funds largely for wages, the sponsor must agree to provide most of the materials and equipment necessary.

The sponsor's share of the total cost of a project is correspondingly larger when the local improvement desired by the com­munity requires large quantities of material or equipment.

On What Basis Does the WPA Approve a Proposed Project?

There must be needy unemployed workers in the locality with the skills required for doing the work. The project must be on public property. * It must be socially useful. It must not be a part of the regular work of the sponsoring agency, such as should be wholly financed out of its own regular funds. And most of the Federal funds requested must be used for the wages of project workers.

* On private property only when rented or leased by a public agency; or when easements in the public interest have been secured by a public agency; or when a State or local government officially pronounces the work to be in the interest of public health and safety.

Does Work Begin on a WPA Project As Soon as It Is Approved?

Not necessarily. Communities are encouraged to maintain a reserve of approved projects so that there will be no delay in starting a new project when it is needed to provide employment.

What Are the Chief Kinds of Work Done by the WPA?

The proportions of WPA funds spent on different types of work up to December 1938 were as follows: 37% for highways, roads, and streets—of which a large proportion are farm-to-market and other secondary roads

  • 11% for parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and other outdoor recreation facilities
  • 11% for education, library projects, statistical surveys, recreation, and other white-collar and professional projects
  • 10% for sewing and canning projects (the former employing more than half of all women WPA workers)
  • 9% for construction and rehabilitation of public buildings—schools, hospitals, courthouses, recreation buildings, etc.
  • 9% for sewer systems and other public utilities
  • 4 1/2% for conservation projects—forestation, erosion control, irrigation, and water control
  • 2 1/2% for new municipal airports and the enlargement and improvement of old ones, and transportation and navigation projects
  • 2 1/2% for sanitation projects, other than sewers, such as elimination of stream pollution and eradication of mosquitoes and other pests
  • 2% for the four arts projects—the Federal Music Project, the Federal Art Project, the Federal Theatre Project, and the Federal Writers' Project
  • 1 1/2% for all other types of projects

The WPA also does emergency work in times of flood, storm, and other disasters. It is able to supply a large force of workers quickly to meet an emergency.

For the purpose of supplying such help, WPA projects are immediately closed in the disaster area and the workers are made available for rescue and rehabilitation work.

Although men perform most of the heavy or dangerous tasks, frequently many women WPA workers serve as emergency cooks, nurses, and helpers.

Rescue work, the moving of families from danger, care for the homeless, the distribution of food and clothing, the restoration of roads, the repair of water mains and other public utilities, the removal of debris, and the work of restoring sanitary conditions—all these tasks fall largely on WPA workers.

Recently in the New England storm disaster, 100,000 WPA workers were immediately mobilized and thrown into the work of rescue, relief, and restoration. During and after the Mississippi-Ohio floods of 1937 the WPA gave the same kind of help to stricken communities.

WPA Employment

Who Is Eligible for WPA Employment?

Any American citizen, or other person owing allegiance to the United States, who is 18 years of age or older, able-bodied, unemployed, and currently certified as in need.

What Agency Certifies That a Worker Is in Need?

A local public relief agency approved by the WPA, or, in lieu thereof, the local WPA.

Must an Unemployed Worker Be a Resident of a State or Locality to Be Eligible for Wpa Employment There?

State and local practice generally requires legal residence; the WPA itself makes no restrictions.

Are Farmers Eligible for WPA Employment?

Yes, and there are other Federal programs for the special benefit of farmers.

How Many Members of a Family Are Eligible for WPA Employment?

Only one, usually the head of the family. The mother or a grown son or daughter is regarded as the economic head of the family if the father is unable to work.

If Two Families Live Together, Is A Member of Each Family Eligible for WPA Employment?

Yes, if both families are in need and otherwise eligible.

How Are Workers Assigned to WPA Projects?

The local public relief agency certifies, to the WPA, workers in need and eligible for WPA employment; and from this group of persons the WPA Division of Employment selects, according to their previous experience or training, the workers who can be placed at work on the various local projects. (See next question.)

Are Workers Assigned to WPA Projects In Any Order of Preference?

Congress has directed that eligible war veterans must be given first preference in assignments.

Does the WPA Ever Employ Project Workers Who Have Not Been Certified as In Need?

Yes. Noncertified workers with special skill or training necessary to the conduct of a project may be employed if qualified relief workers are not available. Such nonrelief workers are secured through the United States Employment Office in the State. At least 95 percent of all project workers, however, must be certified as in need of relief.

How Many Workers in All Has the WPA Employed?

About seven million individuals, at one time or another, since the start of the program in 1935.

How Many Workers Are Employed at One Time by the WPA?

The number has fluctuated, from as low as 1,450,000 in October 1937 to as high as 3,250,000 in November 1938. There were about 3,000,000 WPA workers in March 1939.

What Percentage of WPA Workers Are Men? Women?

Men, 87 percent; women, 13 percent (December 1938).

What Percentage of WPA Workers Are Doing Unskilled Work? Other Kinds of Work?

In December 1938: Percent

  • Unskilled 70%
  • Semiskilled 13%
  • Skilled 11%
  • Professional and technical 3%
  • Unclassified 3%

Do WPA Workers Do the Same Kind of Work They Did in Private Industry?

This is not always possible. An effort is made, insofar as this is consistent with prompt employment, to provide work at the worker's usual occupation or related work.

Wages and Hours

What Is the Average WPA Wage?

The average monthly WPA wage is about $52.50. (See next question.)

Do All WPA Workers Receive the Same Monthly Wage?

No. The monthly earnings vary according to the degree of skill required by the job, and also according to the region and size of community in which the work is done. In large Northern cities the wages run from $55 a month for unskilled work to $94 for professional and technical work, while in Northern rural districts the range is from $40 to $60. In the South the range in large cities is from $40 to $79, in rural districts from $26 to $48.

Do WPA Workers Get the Same Wages as Workers in Private Industry?

They are paid at approximately the same rate per hour, but their monthly earnings are below the general level of private industry.

How Many Hours Do WPA Workers Work?

They average about 110 hours of work a month. Each employee works a sufficient number of hours each month (at the prevailing hourly rate for the occupation in the locality) to permit him to earn his monthly security wage. WPA workers are not permitted to work more than 8 hours in any day, 40 hours in any week, or 140 hours in any month, except to make up lost time or in emergencies involving the public welfare or the protection of work already done.

Can A WPA Worker's Job Classification Be Changed?

Yes, if on the basis of experience and ability he is qualified to do work in a different classification, and if such work is available.

Are WPA Workers Eligible for Promotion?

Yes. On the basis of occupational qualifications and ability they can be promoted to foreman, supervisor, or administrative employee, where such positions are available.

Do the Families of WPA Workers (Like Those on Direct Relief) Receive Food and Supplies from The Surplus Commodities Corporation, Or Food Canned on WPA Canning Projects and Clothes Made by WPA Sewing Projects?

All such commodities are distributed through local relief agencies to families on direct relief; and it is the local relief agency, not the WPA, that decides whether these commodities shall be given also to the families of WPA workers.

Does the WPA Provide for Transportation to And from A Project?

WPA workers are expected to provide their own transportation within reasonable limits. How-ever, transportation to a distant project is sometimes furnished by the WPA or by the project sponsor.

Unions

Are WPA Workers Permitted to Join Unions?

Yes.

Is It Necessary for A Worker to Belong to A Union in Order to Get or Hold A WPA Job?

No.

Are Union Organizational Activities Permitted Among WPA Workers?

Yes. But such activities are not permitted on a project during working hours. Foremen and other WPA officials, although they may join unions, are not permitted to act as organizers at any time.

Have WPA Workers the Right to Complain About Wages, Hours, Or Working Conditions?

Yes. A WPA worker has the right to bring such complaints to his foreman, and, if he is not satisfied, he may carry his complaint to the local WPA office, to the State Administrator, and finally if necessary to the Washington office. WPA rules forbid any discrimination against complainants.

Can A Union or Any Group of WPA Workers Send Representatives to A WPA Office To Present Grievances?

Yes, and they have the right to choose any representatives they wish.

Can A WPA Worker Be Discharged?

Yes, he can be discharged for cause relating to his efficiency or integrity on the job. Also he can be terminated from project employment because of completion of work or shortage of funds.

Safety and Compensation

What Provisions Are Made for The Safety of WPA Workers?

It is the foreman's duty to maintain safe working conditions on a project. In addition, safety inspectors make regular inspections of all projects.

Is Equipment Provided to Protect WPA Workers from Injury?

Yes. Either the WPA or the sponsor of the project provides goggles, safety belts, lifelines, or what-ever equipment is necessary to protect the workers against injuries. Also there is a first-aid kit avail-able on every project.

How Does the Injury Rate on WPA Projects Compare with The General Rate of Private Industry?

It is considerably lower.

Is A WPA Worker Entitled to Compensation for Injuries Received on The Job?

Yes, and for illnesses resulting from such injuries.

What Compensation Does A WPA Worker Get for Injuries Received on His Job?

Beginning on the fourth day of his disability he draws a compensation equal to two-thirds of his monthly wage but not exceeding $50 a month. The maximum amount allowed by the U. S. Employees' Compensation Commission for death or injury is $4,000, payable at a rate not to exceed $50 a month. In addition, he receives all necessary medical and hospital treatment.

Administration, Supervision, and Finances

 

Is WPA Administration Efficient?

Impartial investigations have found it so. For example, after making a comprehensive survey of unemployment relief, the magazine Fortune reported that the WPA as an organization "functions with an efficiency of which any industrialist would be proud."

How Are Foremen and Supervisors of WPA Projects Selected?

Local WPA officials select all foremen; supervisors are selected by the local WPA except when they are provided by (and paid by) the project sponsors.

Must WPA Supervisors and Foremen Be Taken from The Relief Rolls?

This is desirable but not required. However, the proportion of non-relief employees to the total working force must not exceed 5 percent on any project, except where special exemptions have been authorized.

How Are WPA Funds Apportioned Among the States and Communities?

In accordance with the extent of need in each State and each community. Thus the amount of WPA money spent in States and communities does not depend on their area or population, but on the number of needy unemployed workers and on the wage levels in each.

How Much of The Cost of WPA Projects Is Paid from Federal Funds?

The Federal Government pays almost all the labor costs of a project. The sponsor pays most of the costs of materials and equipment. During the last fiscal year, sponsors' funds averaged about 20 per-cent of total project costs.

Just What Is the Federal WPA Dollar Spent On?

Out of each Federal dollar spent 86 cents is used to pay project workers.

  • 11 cents is used to pay for materials and equipment.
  • 3 cents is used to pay for administrative costs.

Is There an Independent Accounting for WPA Funds?

Yes, by the United States Treasury Department, which also issues checks to WPA workers and purchases WPA materials.

Politics

Must A WPA Worker Support Any Political Party in Order to Get or Hold His Job?

No. To promise a WPA job for political reasons, or to deprive or threaten to deprive a WPA worker of his job for political reasons, is a felony. *

Is It Permissible for WPA Workers to Be Solicited for Campaign Contributions?

No. Solicitation of campaign contributions from WPA workers is a felony. *

Can WPA Employees Run for Political Office?

Project workers legally can; but supervisory and administrative employees are forbidden to run for political office or to act as campaign managers for political candidates. The law provides that any supervisory or administrative employee who uses his official position to influence an election shall be immediately dismissed.

* Punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or a year's imprisonment, or both.

Private Industry

Are Any Special Arrangements Made to Help WPA Workers Get Jobs in Private Industry?

The U. S. Employment Service, with which all WPA workers are registered, seeks to keep in-formed of the needs of private employers, and makes constant efforts to place WPA workers in private jobs.

Is A WPA Worker Required to Take A Job in Private Industry If One Is Open to Him?

Yes, if it is work that he can do and if the employer offers the prevailing local wage and reasonable working conditions.

Can A WPA Worker Who Has Taken A Private Job Get Back on The WPA If He Loses the Job?

Yes. If he loses the job through no fault of his own, and is still in need, he is entitled to reemployment.

WPA Workers

How Long Had WPA Workers Been Employed at Their Trades in Private Industry?

Ten years on the average.

How Old Are WPA Workers?

A survey in November 1937 showed these percentages:

  • 9 percent under 25 years old
  • 23 percent between 25 and 34 years old
  • 25 percent between 35 and 44 years old
  • 24 percent between 45 and 54 years old
  • 16 percent between 55 and 64 years old
  • 3 percent 65 years of age or over

The WPA limits its employment almost entirely to the heads of families. Many needy younger workers are assisted by the NYA or the CCC rather than the WPA.

Are the Same People Employed Continuously on WPA Projects?

Less than one-sixth of the 5,000,000 different per-sons who worked on WPA projects during the first 2 years of the program's operation were continuously employed by the WPA.

Thousands of workers leave WPA projects for private employment every week; and at the same time other workers come on WPA projects who have lost their jobs in private industry and who are in need.

Even when unemployment is increasing for the Nation as a whole, some workers are able to find private jobs and leave WPA projects. However, when unemployment is increasing, the number who have to apply for WPA assistance is greater than the number leaving the projects. The opposite is the case when private employment is on the increase.

Do WPA Workers Refuse Jobs in Private Industry In Order To Stay On The WPA Pay Rolls?

Of the thousands of complaints that have been investigated, less than one-tenth of 1 percent have been found valid.

Accomplishments

(The next three answers give only a partial account of WPA accomplishments. A complete inventory will be sent on request.)

What Has the WPA Accomplished in The Way of Public Improvements?

During the 3-year period ending July 1, 1938, the WPA's record of physical accomplishments includes :

  • Public buildings. —17,562 new ones constructed, with improvements on 46,318 and additions to 1,663. These include schools and libraries, administrative and recreational buildings, hospitals and institutional buildings, fire houses and armories.
  • Roads. —279,804 miles of highways, roads, and streets newly built or improved. Most of this work was done on farm-to-market and other secondary roads.
  • Other Road Work. —Thousands of miles of culverts, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and paths built and repaired. Also 22,247 miles of new roadside drainage ditches, with 44,255 miles cleared or deepened.
  • Bridges. —29,084 new ones and 23,521 improved.
  • Aviation Facilities. -357 airports and landing fields built or modernized; over 2,000,000 linear feet of landing runways built or improved.
  • Recreational Areas and Facilities .—More than 15,000 parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields built or improved, as well as 11,600 swimming and wading pools, golf courses, tennis, handball and horseshoe courts, skating rinks, ski jumps and trails, outdoor theatres and bandshells.
  • Water Systems. —6,086 miles of new water mains, aqueducts or distribution lines, with 2,204 miles renovated. Water connections totaling 349,000 were made or repaired.
  • Dams. —4,091 new storage dams, with 469 improved; 26,663 other new dams for erosion control and general conservation, with 365 of this type improved.
  • Sanitation. —8,855 miles of storm and sanitary sewers built, and 2,600 improved. Also 544 sewage-treatment plants, 1,159,000 sanitary toilets, and 5,639 septic tanks. Sewer connections totaling 250,000 were made or repaired.
  • Ground Improvements. —Nearly 42,000 acres of public grounds, other than parks, landscaped; nearly 18,500 miles of fence built or repaired.

What Has the WPA Done in The Fields of Education, The Arts, And Public Recreation Service?

During the 3 years ending July 1, 1938: Educational workers conducted more than 100,000 classes a month, attended by about 1,145,000 people. They have taught 1,200,000 people to read and write, assisted in the naturalization of aliens by providing education in the fundamentals of American citizenship, and furnished vocational education for unemployed men and women.

Library Workers established more than 3,500 new branch libraries, more than 1,100 new traveling libraries, more than 4,500 reading rooms in existing libraries; cataloged 27,553,0001 library books; renovated 56,191,000 books, most of them for schools and libraries.

Recreational Workers operated more than 14,700 community centers and assisted more than 7,800 others: supervised recreational activities, mostly physical, totaling more than 16,320,000 participant hours in an average week.

The Federal Art Project conducted art classes with an average monthly attendance of about 60,000; operated civic art centers with aggregate attendance of 4,000,000; produced more than 234,000 art objects, including 96,602 drawings, easel paintings, murals, and sculptured works.

The Federal Music Project conducted music classes with an average monthly attendance (January to June 1938, inclusive) of 530,000 and gave an average of 4,400 musical performances per month with an average monthly attendance of over 3,000,000.

The Federal Theatre produced 1,813 plays, with an average (January to June 1938, inclusive) of 1,077 performances a month with average monthly attendance of 476,000.

The Federal Writers' Project, chiefly occupied in producing a series of guidebooks to the various States and localities of America, completed 293 books and pamphlets, of which 3,550,000 copies have been sold or otherwise distributed.

The Historic American Building Survey made measurements of 2,302 famous structures, 16,244 drawings, and 17,480 photographs, which will be preserved for future generations.

The Historic Records Survey preserved thousands of valuable records from neglect, decay, and destruction.

Hundreds of research projects assisted various kinds of public work, ranging from traffic regulation to scientific experiment.

What Other Public Services Have WPA Workers Performed?

During the 3-year period ending July 1, 1938: Women on sewing projects made 181,209,000 garments and household articles for distribution through local public relief agencies to needy families and public institutions.

  • Workers on canning and preserving projects prepared 48,061,000 pounds of food for distribution to needy families through local public relief agencies.
  • Workers on school lunch projects served 238,330,000 meals to undernourished children.
  • More than 15,000,000 needy adults and children were helped through medical, dental, and nursing services.
  • Housekeeping aides made over 7,000,000 visits in order to help out needy families.
  • WPA workers conducted 1,551 nursery school units attended by nearly 44,000 children from needy families (up to November 1, 1938).

Has an Independent Appraisal of WPA Work Been Made?

Yes. Ten national organizations cooperated in making an independent appraisal of WPA work. * In reply to a questionnaire sent out by these organizations, the officials of counties, cities, and towns in 42 States made some 8,000 reports appraising the Works Program in their communities.

The reports were studied and summarized by impartial State committees of leading citizens. They expressed pride in the accomplishments of local WPA workers, and they declared that the WPA had been of immeasurable aid both to the communities and to the workers. Without exception, the summarizing reports of the State committees favor work relief over a dole.

Another special study was made, in several large cities, of the comparative efficiency of skilled building trades workers on WPA projects. This study, made by trade union representatives with the cooperation of the local WPA authorities, showed that over 90 percent of these skilled WPA workers performed adequate work in terms of the normal requirements of their crafts in private industry.

* The cooperating organizations were the American Engineering Council, the American Institute of Architects, the American Municipal Association, the American Public Welfare Association, the American Society of Planning Officials, the National Aeronautic Association, the National Educational Association (Department of Adult Education), the National Recreation Association, the United States Bureau of Public Roads, and the United States Conference of Mayors.

What Do Local Officials Think of The WPA?

The United States Conference of Mayors, an organization composed of the mayors of 100 leading cities with a total population of some 25,000,000, has gone on record as follows:

"The integrity and permanent usefulness of the city projects which have been approved by the Federal Government need no apology from any-one. These are the cities ' own projects. Honest and impartial analysis . . . will reveal that practically every project represents a useful, and in most cases a permanent, public improvement.

"Finally; it is apparent that the city officials of America will never consent to abandonment of the work principle in giving relief assistance. The dole, based upon idleness and groceries, has no place in our American scheme of society."

Emergency Employment Provided by Other Federal Agencies

What Other Federal Agencies Provide Emergency Employment; And What Is Their Relation to The WPA Program?

The Public Works Administration (PWA)

The Public Works Administration (PWA), because of the similarity of the initials, is sometimes con-fused with the WPA. The PWA is not primarily a work-relief agency; its principal objective is to stimulate reemployment, directly, through con-tractors carrying out PWA jobs, and indirectly through the stimulation of productive activity in heavy goods industries. PWA projects are restricted to construction activities.

The PWA as such does not carry out the actual prosecution of projects (as does the WPA), but makes grants, sometimes supplemented by loans, to State and local governments, which in turn let contracts for the prosecution of the work under the general regulations of and subject to the approval of the Public Works Administration.

The PWA regularly inspects the actual construction work as it is carried out. Under the act appropriating funds to the PWA for fiscal year 1939, need of relief is not a condition for employment on PWA jobs.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

The CCC's special task is to help conserve and develop the Nation's parks, forests, and other natural resources; it provides employment and training in camps to about 300,000 workers, chiefly among unmarried youths from 17 to 23 years of age, but including also many war veterans.

The National Youth Administration (NYA)

The NYA provides part-time employment for needy students of both sexes, from 16 to 25 years of age, thus enabling many of them to continue their education. It also affords part-time employment through work projects to many young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are not in school or college.

Other Agencies

The Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Navy, War, and Treasury, and various other Government agencies, provide emergency employment by expanding the work which they ordinarily carry out under regular appropriations.

Part of the work of certain agencies can be adapted readily to the employment of relief workers, with relatively small outlays for materials and equipment, and emergency projects of this nature are financed by the transfer of WPA funds.

Other agencies are able to carry out projects of the heavy construction type, on an expanded and emergency basis, and these projects are financed by the allocation of PWA funds, or by direct appropriations of an emergency nature. Some agencies, of course, operate emergency projects of both types.

Thus the War and Navy Departments employ relief workers to help construct and rehabilitate army posts or navy yards; the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is able to do more flood control work and inland waterway improvement; the Bureau of Public Roads allocates funds to States for the construction of more roads and the elimination of dangerous grade crossings; the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine conducts more extensive campaigns against plant diseases and insect pests; the U. S. Public Health Service carries on health projects and health surveys; and the Bureau of Reclamation conducts various irrigation projects all either using workers from the relief rolls or providing jobs for other unemployed workers.

The WPA—besides cooperating with other Federal agencies in providing emergency employment—helps to operate about 35,000 local work projects all over the country. Its employment varies in inverse ratio with the level of private employment, having ranged from 1 1/2 million in the fall of 1937 to 3 1/4% million in the fall of 1938. It takes its workers almost entirely from the relief rolls; it employs many women as well as men; and its projects, while in the main devoted to such work as building roads and sewers, also include education, health, recreation, art, music, and other projects giving employment to trained professional and technical workers.

F. C. Harrington, Administrator, "Questions and Answers on the WPA," Works Progress Administration, Washington, DC, 17 April 1939.

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WPA / Works Progress Administration
GG Archives

Books

Farmers on Relief and Rehabilitation - WPA - 1937

Inventory: An Appraisal of Results of the Works Progress Administration - 1938

Rural Families on Relief - Research Monograph XVII - 1938

Rural Youth: Their Situation and Prospects - Research Monograph XV - 1938

Rural Youth - Their Situation and Prospects - Conclusions - 1938

New Deal for Youth - The National Youth Administration (NYA) - 1938

1935-05 The Drought and Current Farm Imports

1936-10-15 Report on Progress of The Works Program

Final Report on the WPA Program 1935-43