National Youth Administration

When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president he put his friend, Harry Hopkins, in charge of the Works Projects Administration (WPA). The purpose of the WPA was to give wages to people currently unemployed. By 1936 over 3.5 million people were employed on various WPA programs.

This included the National Youth Administration (NYA). This program helped those who were between the ages of 16 and 25 who, because they wanted to continue with their education, were given part-time jobs. More than 700,000 students enrolled in this program. The high levels of unemployment meant that part-time jobs were not easy to find and most of the schemes were based in the cities and large towns.

Primary Sources

(1) Frances Perkins was secretary for labour in Franklin D. Roosevelt's first cabinet. She wrote about this period in her book, The Roosevelt I Knew (1946)

The National Youth Administration helped young people squeezed by depression to get an education by providing work and study for them, and saved many colleges and universities from the ravages of the depression. This a whole generation of young people who would have missed that training because of poverty were educated.