Interesting facts about WPA

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The Work Project Administration (WPA) which was earlier called the Work Progress Administration was created in 1935 by the US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to stimulate the national economy which got downtrodden by the ‘˜Great Depression’ in US. WPA was known for its employing of millions of unemployed people for public relief work. Under the leadership of Harry Hopkins, a close adviser of Roosevelt, WPA helped many unemployed men and women with jobs and income, which helped many families. Under WPA, workers used to get on the job training to prepare themselves for the respected jobs. It was started in Arkansas where WPA provided enough infrastructural improvement and social services. WPA was created with the intension to give direct government job to the jobless. It needs to mention here that since then there was never a federal job creation program the national facts and figures of infrastructural development of that period are very high.

Quick facts about WPA are:

It helped many unskilled men to earn their livelihood in a respectable manner, which helped to raise their self esteem.

When it was started the unemployment rate of the nation was around 20% while in 1945 the rate was 29%.

A total of nearly $11 billion paychecks were distributed nationwide among 8.5 million people within eight years of WPA’s emergence.

WPA performed variety and difficult projects in the field of infrastructure like construction of road, bridge, dams, airport, schools, sewer, slum clearance, rehabilitation etc. WPA handled projects in the field of theatre, music, sewing, food distribution, environmental preservation, disaster relief and more.

In 1936 WPA employment reached its highest of 24,607 in Maryland.

In 1939 it was renamed as Work Project Administration and transferred to the Federal work agency under the leadership of Harry L. Hopkins.
Local Governments also shared some of the expenses of WPA and federal government paid the rest.

There were separate professions set up for women like housekeeping, sewing, cooking and librarianship in WPA where they were also given proper training according to the profession.

WPA took great effort to provide at least one paid job to the families which were suffering from unemployment.

WPA was constantly under the political attack like other New Deal programs.

Shortage of worker due to World War II resulted in the end of WPA in 1943. It was a great help to the unemployed for 8 years.

One of the important policies of WPA was that both husband and wife from the same family should not be working together as in such a case it would take away job from some other family or bread winner.

According to the survey done in Philadelphia showed that 90% of female workers were married in WPA but only 18% were living with their husbands during the times of their unemployment.

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