In 1935, a New Deal agency called the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was initiated with the main intention of employing unskilled workers for public works projects. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs. One of the WPA’s best known programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps employed over 250,000 young men nationwide to build trails and parks in public lands.
Although the vast majority of its projects were for construction, the WPA also funded: food, clothing and shelter for needy children; agricultural and social censuses; regional archival and records-keeping; arts programs; youth programs; and writers, musicians, and theatre artists.
10-30% of the cost of Federal WPA projects were paid for by state and local governments.