Works Progress Adminstration

WPA, Works Progress Administration, was established by an executive order by the president under the Emergency Relief Act of April 1935. It generated public jobs for the unemployed. In 1939 it was restructured when it was re-assigned to the Federal Works Agency. Over 3.4 million people were employed by the WPA in 1936. Fewer women than men were employed by the WPA. The year 1938, was the top employment year. Out of all the employees there was only 13.5% women for the WPA.


The men and women working for the WPA built and repaired: roads, streets, highways, bridges, public buildings, parks, and landing feilds. Also they cleaned slums, revived forests and extended electrical power to rural locations.

651,087 miles of roads, streets, and highways
Built, repaired, or refurnished:
124,031 bridges
125,110 public buildings
8,192 parks
853 landing fields
The positive results that the WPA brought about helped Franklin D. Roosevelt gain the electoral victory in 1936, despite the fact that the WPA only employed only about 25% of the jobless in the nation.
"How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him--he has known a fear beyond every other."
The Grapes of Wrath

Works Cited
"Works Progress Administration (WPA)." Travel & History. 3 March 2009 <>
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Group, 2002.