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Local History

FERA and the WPA

“Jim Campbell, left, 60-year-old FERA laborer, is happy at the prospect of better wages which the new WPA program holds for him. He’s showing his friend Roe Blades, 55, his registration slip from the state employment bureau which he received today, which makes him eligible to work on WPA projects. Both men live at 1216 North Campbell Avenue.” Leader and Press, July 12, 1935.

As programs such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration prepared to wind down their operations in 1935, the WPA, Works Progress Administration was created to help people get paying jobs. The WPA District Administrator for Southwest Missouri was Guy L. Wade. The WPA offices were to occupy the entire west half of the ground floor of the courthouse without charge. Greene County court officials agreed to allow this if the WPA would return the favor by aiding the county in road construction.

To be eligible for the WPA jobs, workers had to register with the state employment bureau. Reports said that most of the applicants that flooded the bureau were FERA workers, although some were from the federal transient bureau. The photograph above accompanied the newspaper article.


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