Civil Works Projects Leads to WPA

The Civil Works Administration (CWA) was a short-lived U.S. job-creation program established by the New Deal during the Great Depression to rapidly create manual labor jobs for millions of unemployed workers. The jobs were merely temporary for the duration of the hard winter of 1933-34.

The CWA created construction jobs, mainly improving or constructing buildings and bridges. It ended on March 31, 1934 after spending $200 million a month and giving jobs to four million people.

The CWA’s workers laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or improved 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, and nearly 1,000 airports (not to mention building 250,000 outhouses still badly needed in rural America).

Although the CWA provided much employment, there were critics who said there was nothing of permanent value. President Franklin D. Roosevelt told his cabinet that this criticism moved him to end the program and replace it later that year with the WPA, which would have long-term value for society, in addition to short-term benefits for the unemployed (More about the WPA on May 6,  2018, it’s official beginning with an Executive Order signed that date).

The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings, roads and dams,  during the Great Depression.  Almost every community in the U.S. had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, and national parks benefited also. Work relief was preferable to public assistance because it maintained self-respect, reinforced the work ethic and kept skills sharp.

It was liquidated on June 30, 1943 as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II. The WPA provided millions of Americans with jobs for eight years.  (from Wikipedia)

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