The Civilian Conservation Corps

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Putting the nation to work

By Toni C. Collins
Levy County Historian
In March of 1933, as many as 15 million people - a quarter of the nation’s workers - had no job and no hope of finding one. Factories lay idle, storefronts vacant, fields plowed under. State governments, cities, and towns had exhausted their meager relief funds.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, he struggled to provide emergency measures to fill basic necessities but wanted to focus on the vital human need to maintain dignity. First and foremost, FDR looked for ways to provide jobs. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) filled this need and was approved by Congress so swiftly that it was signed into law only 10 days after FDR took office.
The CCC enlisted the departments of Agriculture, Labor, War, and Interior to coordinate a greater range of jobs. The workers lived in military-style camps administered by the Army and worked on federal lands. For $30 a month, workers would upgrade national parks and forests, improve flood control, and fight soil erosion.

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