National Youth Administration

From Ohio History Central

On April 8, 1935, the United States Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The Emergency Relief Appropriation Act was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt hoped that his New Deal would allow Americans to cope with the Great Depression, would help end the current economic downturn, and would help prevent another depression from occurring in the future.

One important accomplishment of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act was the creation of the National Youth Administration (NYA). This government office hired young men and women between sixteen and twenty-five years of age to work on projects similar to ones sponsored by the Public Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration. The NYA hired both men and women. It paid relatively low wages; Richard Nixon, a future president of the United States, earned thirty-five cents per hour while working for the NYA in North Carolina. This federal agency also provided financial aid to college students. This aid allowed many unemployed students to enroll or to remain in college.

In 1938 alone, more than twenty-five thousand Ohio youths found employment with the NYA. Within Ohio's borders during the first three years of the NYA's existence, workers established forty parks and over twenty playgrounds, built fifteen public buildings, and constructed two dozen smaller dams on rivers and streams. The NYA remained in existence until 1943. By this point in time, the Great Depression had ended, and unemployment had dropped tremendously due to the creation of thousands of jobs associated with World War II.

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