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U.S. National Youth Administration

Nature volume 143, page 551 (01 April 1939) | Download Citation



A REPORT prepared for the Advisory Committee on Education of the United States by P. O. Johnson and O. L. Harvey on the National Youth Administration describes the organization and programme of the work of the Administration with a brief evaluation of some of its achievements. The National Youth Administration was set up as an agency within the Works Progress Administration in June 1935 and is thus primarily a relief agency, operating with funds earmarked for the general appropriation by Congress for emergency relief. Its two chief programmes are student aid and work projects, and its detailed operation in the several States varies according to local needs and problems. The number of young persons between 16 and 24 years of age receiving aid on the major programmes rose from about 470,000 a month in the first six months of 1936 to 580,000 a month in the same period of 1937 but has since declined owing to the reduction in the total budget. The student aid programme provides for those youths who are otherwise financially unable to continue their schooling. The works projects programme provides work experience for those whose interest in further schooling is relatively weak but who require work experience as a qualification for admission to private employment and earning a living. The guidance and placement service gives vocational guidance and attempts to place unemployed youth in employment. The apprentice-training programme was only an incidental function of the National Youth Administration and has recently been transferred to the Department of Labour. The programme of educational camps for unemployed women proved expensive to maintain and has been terminated for this and other reasons. The experiments have directed attention to many inadequacies in the provision for vocational guidance and, apart from the prevention of demoralization or restoration of morale, the National Youth Administration has demonstrated the possibilities of concerted action in the solution of the problems of youth, and particularly the value of proper direction and wise planning.

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