Civilian Conservation Corps

US voluntary public work relief program from 1933-42 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary government work relief program that ran from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 18–25 and eventually expanded to ages 17–28.[1] The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that supplied manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to supply jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States.

Poster by Albert M. Bender, produced by the Illinois WPA Art Project Chicago in 1935 for the CCC
CCC boys leaving camp for home; Lassen National Forest, California

Robert Fechner was the first director of this agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The largest enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, three million young men took part in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 (equivalent to $678 in current dollars) per month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).[2]

CCC-built bridge across Rock Creek in Little Rock, Arkansas

The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs.[3] Sources written at the time claimed[4] an individual's enrollment in the CCC led to improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. The CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.[5]

CCC workers constructing a road in what is now Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 1933
154th Co.. CCC, Eagle Lake Camp NP-1-Me. Bar harbor Maine, February 1940
CCC camps in Michigan; the tents were soon replaced by barracks built by Army contractors for the enrollees.[6]

The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans. Approximately 15,000 Native Americans took part in the program, helping them weather the Great Depression.[7]

By 1942, with World War II raging and the draft in effect, the need for work relief declined, and Congress voted to close the program.[8]