The WPA - Works Progress Administration
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The WPA created jobs
for unemployed people

   The WPA - the Works Progress Administration - was a federal work program designed to create jobs during the Great Depression. 

   The program paid for all kinds of projects that federal, state, and local leaders thought would be worthwhile.

   The photo below shows men working on underground pipes for a WPA sewer project for the city of San Diego, California.


Millions of unemployed Americans found jobs through the WPA once it was
created by President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress in 1935.  Many of the jobs
were in construction projects, making roads, post office buildings, and airports. 
Many other WPA jobs were in education related projects of various kinds.

Below:  A woman hired for a job at a WPA nursery school for children
of migrant farm workers in Washington state.


Below:  A modern brick school built as part of a WPA project in Georgia. 
Notice that some of the children are barefoot.  Do any look overweight?

The WPA also created jobs for out-of-work actors and theater workers. 
Groups were hired to perform plays in schools and in towns where professionally
performed drama was rarely seen.  The photo below from 1936 shows people
attending a WPA production of the famous Shakespeare play Macbeth.

The WPA ended in 1943

The Works Progress Administration was ended in 1943, during World War II. 
During the years it operated, it provided an estimated 8 million jobs.

Which category does the WPA belong to, in the chart below?


All photos except the theater are from the Library of Congress.
The theater photo and the WPA logo are from the National Archives.
The New Deal chart is by David Burns.
Some images have been edited or resized for this page.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2009, 2016 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  As a guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning, some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences from that document, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author's copyright extends to the original text and graphics, unique design and layout, and related material.