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On 75th anniversary of WPA, jobs coalition calls for action by Congress to put America back to work

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 8, 2010
Contact: Germonique R. Ulmer 202-339-9331

Washington, D.C. — Jobs for America Now, the nation’s largest jobs coalition, today commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Works Progress Administration, a $10 billion federal program that placed millions of people in hundreds of thousands of jobs from 1935 into the early 1940s.

Across the country, local organizers are holding events marking the anniversary and calling upon Congress to pass legislation by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that would put one million people to work almost immediately, doing essential jobs in local communities across America. Miller’s Local Jobs for America Act, which already has gathered more than 100 cosponsors, is pending in committee.

“Faced with the Great Depression, a determined Congress and President acted decisively to put America back to work,” said Alan Charney, campaign manager for Jobs for America Now. “From LaGuardia Airport to Camp David to the Golden Gate Bridge, the legacy of WPA remains with us today. Just as joblessness was the number one issue then, the unemployment crisis is the most important issue facing us today. We need bold and decisive action from Congress to put our country back to work.”

The Local Jobs for America Act would provide $100 billion over two years to create or save a million public and private sector jobs; extend critical support to local communities to maintain essential services; and fund private sector job training to help local businesses put people back to work.

Jobs for America Now, is a broad coalition of more than 70 national organizations. Its members have endorsed a five-point program that would extend unemployment benefits; provide fiscal relief to state and local governments; create jobs in distressed communities that face severe unemployment; invest in infrastructure such as schools, transportation and energy efficiency; and spur private-sector job growth by providing incentives and credit to small and medium-sized businesses.