Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps

In 1933, under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established as a volunteer work relief program targeted at providing employment for young, unmarried men during the Great Depression. 

As a part of the New Deal, the men working for the CCC earned $30 per month, $25 of which was sent directly to their parents to support the family in those hard times. These volunteers took part in unskilled manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments.

Not only were the volunteers of the CCC paid for their efforts, but they were rewarded in other ways, as well. At a time in our country's history when unemployment was up and morale was down - much like today - the CCC provided its volunteers with an opportunity to take their minds off of the economy, get their hands dirty, boost their own personal morale and increase their employability.
It is these men we have to thank for constructing more than 800 parks across the nation and building an extensive network of public roadways in remote areas - an infrastructure which connected regions of the nation for the first time and still exist today.

Without President Roosevelt's ingenuity and the timely legislation put forth in the 73rd Congress in 1933, we wouldn't be able to enjoy such spectacular places as Smoky Mountain National Park.

While the economic problems we are dealing with today aren’t on the same scale as the Great Depression, there are enough similarities that allow us to learn from history. Yes, government can and does play an important role in getting the economic engine roaring again. With strong investments in infrastructure, we can create jobs AND boost the economy at the same time.
House Democrats have put together a capital budget proposal that would create 22,000 jobs in Washington. The proposed House transportation budget has an impact on over 43,000 jobs in Washington. 

For a more in depth look at the Civilian Conservation Corps and its impact on America during the Great Depression, watch this video: