Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - American businessThe Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the most popular “New Deal” programs initiated by the Franklin Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression. Begun in 1933, the program eventually involved over 3 million unemployed Americans in planting trees, controlling forest fires, and building state and national parks. At the time, almost 25 percent of American workers were unemployed. The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Project Administration (WPA) were one of the government’s stimuli to a failing economy. The idea of government stimulating economic activity during a recession challenged the prevailing doctrine of classical economics but was strongly supported by Keynesian economics in 1936.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was operated by existing federal agencies. The Department of Labor selected participants, mostly young men and women who were unemployed. (This broke traditional barriers of engaging women in the workforce.) The Departments of Interior and Agriculture planned the work projects. Participants were provided clothing, housing, and food and paid $30 per month but were required to send home $25 of their monthly earnings.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was the model for subsequent state conservation programs as well as the National and Community Service Trust Act enacted by President Clinton in 1993. The Civilian Conservation Corps was disbanded in 1942 due to U.S. involvement in World War II and the need for labor associated with the war effort. The results of its programs can be seen today in many state and federal parks.
Pagan, Kathleen Waltson. “Viewpoint (Civilian Conservation Corps).” Planning 59 (November 1993): 46.