MEDIA RELEASE: WPA’s 75th anniversary shows the need for new public jobs programs


MEDIA RELEASE: WPA’s 75th anniversary shows the need for new public jobs programs
The public jobs program still offers a model to end the recession. Advocates for working families launch campaign supporting Local Jobs for America Act

RALEIGH (April 8, 2010) -- After 75 years, the Works Progress Administration still represents a proven strategy to help working families and end the Great Recession. Today, economists and advocates alike celebrated the anniversary by endorsing a policy in the WPA’s tradition: Rep. George Miller’s “Local Jobs for America Act.”

In a news conference on the 75th anniversary of the WPA’s creation, groups gathered at the anti-poverty NC Justice Center office to argue in favor of new public investments to create jobs and boost the economy.

The lessons of the WPA aren't just about the past – they're about the future,” said Ajamu Dillahunt, a community organizer with the NC Justice Center. “Today, we have an opportunity to follow this model – to create jobs immediately and build lasting projects that will benefit North Carolina generations from now.”

The WPA built lasting infrastructure like the Blue Ridge Parkway, enhanced natural monuments North Carolinians still enjoy today such as Umstead State Park, and put a generation back to work, helping end the Great Depression.

Just as the WPA put people to work 75 years ago, the Local Jobs for America Act will create jobs for a million people and, at the same time, it will ensure that our local communities can continue essential services in the areas of education, public safety, health care, and transportation,” said MaryBe McMillan of AFL-CIO North Carolina. “Our communities are hurting. We urge Congress to act quickly on this legislation.”

The Local Jobs for America Act (HR 4812) was introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

Photos from the event will be available online at

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, communications director, 919.863.2402 (office) 503.551.3615 (mobile),; Ajamu Dillahunt, 919.856.3194,