Scotland Finds Old Way to Put Unemployed Kids to Work

As it tries to stay off the brink of a double-dip recession, Scotland is taking a page from American history and implementing its own version of a program that started in the 1930s and helped pull America out of the Great Depression.

The program would hire unemployed young people to do manual labor to help the environment, from planting trees to creating parks, as the Civilian Conservation Corps did from 1933 to 1944. U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came up with the idea to help unemployed men ages 18 to 24.

Keith Geddes, chairman of the Central Scotland Green Network, which aims to make central Scotland greener, wants to introduce the scheme in light of the 26,000 young people in the region who are not in jobs, school or training. Details such as pay and qualifications have yet to be worked out.

"This would involve young people doing gardening, horticulture, woodland-management, path-building and that sort of thing. We are in difficult times and have got to think radically," Geddes told Scotland Evening Times.

Roosevelt started the CCC as part of his "New Deal" programs to get people back to work at a time when the national unemployment rate was 25 percent. By the time the program ended, more than 3 million young men had worked to protect America's natural resources from destruction and erosion.

In addition to helping develop recreational facilities at parks, members erected 3,470 fire towers, built 97,000 miles of fire roads, spent 4,235,000 man-days fighting fires, and planted more than 3 billion trees. Soil erosion was ultimately arrested on more than 20 million acres.

The CCC was Roosevelt's top program to get Americans back to work; but many of his other New Deal programs were also successful and could be used now to get Americans back to work and lower the national unemployment rate of 9.5 percent.

Here are some of the other New Deal programs that could be tried again today to put people back to work:

1. Civil Works Administration: The CWA was created in 1933 to create jobs for the unemployed by focusing on high-paying jobs in the construction field. The program ended in 1934.

2. Public Works Administration: The PWA was created to provide economic stimulus and jobs through public works such as airports and dams, and continued until the United States ramped up wartime production for World War II. It ended in 1941.

3. Works Progress Administration: The WPA was created in 1935 and became the largest New Deal agency by providing jobs across the nation. It led to numerous roads, buildings, and other projects. It was renamed the Works Projects Administration in 1939, and officially ended in 1943.

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