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The Civilian Conservation Corps

    Publishing Information

    Selection of Enrollees for the Civilian Conservation Corps (Utah)

    Reprinted from First Biennial Report of the Utah State Department of Public Welfare, 1936-38, pp. 99-103.

  1. The Civilian Conservation Corps was the first of the nationwide federally-operated emergency employment programs created to alleviate unemployment and distress resulting from the widespread economic depression which began in 1929. Created in response to the problem presented by the thousands of unemployed young men roaming the country in the years immediately following the onset of the depression, the purpose of the CCC is three-fold: (1) to give work and training to unemployed young men and veterans; (2) to assist needy families through allotment of proportion of enrollees' wages; and (3) to rehabilitate, conserve, and improve the nation's natural resources. This agency, first authorized by Act of Congress, March 31, 1933, as Emergency Conservation Work, was extended by annual and biennial appropriations until June 28, 1937, when Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps as such and its period of operation was extended until June 30, 1940. The office of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps is a supervising agency, operating through the War Department, the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Interior. The War Department provides housing, food, clothing, recreation, education, medical attention, and supervision and discipline while in camp. The Department of Labor is designated as the official selecting agency, and delegates this responsibility to a public agency in each state. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior provide and supervise through project superintendents the field work of the Corps through their various divisions and bureaus, except that CCC camps located in state parks are supervised by state departments. The entire cost of establishment, maintenance, and operation of the Civilian Conservation Corps is paid from federal funds, appropriated by Congress for this purpose.

  2. Since the first Civilian Conservation Corps camps were established in Utah in the summer of 1933, the State Department of Public Welfare (and its predecessor, the Utah Emergency Relief Administration) has been the designated selecting agency for enrollees from Utah. The Department of Labor assigns Utah a basic quota, which varies from time to time according to the number of potential enrollees in the state. In order to maintain this basic quota at full strength, the Department of Labor designates the number of replacements to be made at each quarterly enrollment. The selection of enrollees is made through the County Departments of Public Welfare to meet county quotas assigned by the State Department of Public Welfare and based on the state quota. The selections are made on the basis of qualifications set up by the U. S. Department of Labor. Eligible applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 23 years of age, inclusive, unmarried, citizens of the United States, unemployed and in need of employment. The County Departments of Public Welfare receive applications from boys in households receiving public assistance and from other unemployed young men. The selections made from these applicants in order to fill the assigned quota are on the basis of eligibility and potential adaptability to camp life, with preference given to those from families dependent on direct assistance or Works Program earnings. These selectees are then certified to the District Commanding Office, CCC, Fort Douglas, and those who meet the physical requirements are enrolled. The enrollment is for six months and re-enrollment for additional six-month periods is optional, but not to exceed a total of two years. Selection preference is given to applicants from dependent households because of the contribution to the support of these families accruing from the enrollees' earnings. During the period of enrollment, the enrollee receives a minimum wage of $30 per month, and in addition, clothing, food, shelter, and medical attention. If an enrollee has dependents, he must share the $30 wage with them. Enrollees allot from $22 to $25 of their monthly earnings to their dependents through the Finance Office of the War Department. If an enrollee has no dependents, he deposits a similar amount with the Finance Office for withdrawal upon his discharge from the Corps. This allows the boy a maximum of $8 per month for his personal use and recreation.

  3. Eighty-nine per cent of the enrollees selected during the second year of the current biennium sent their allotments to either their father or mother. It was found that of the families receiving these allotments, 65 per cent were recipients of direct public assistance or were employed on federal Works Program projects, and 24 per cent were determined eligible for, but not already receiving, assistance. Assuming that these percentages are true for the entire period covered by operations of the CCC, from the summer of 1933 to the end of the current biennium, June 30, 1938, approximately $3,328,060 paid solely from federal funds went into homes during this five-year period, lightening the state's relief burden to this extent both by reducing the amount of assistance required by families of some enrollees and by obviating entirely the necessity for direct relief to families of others.

  4. The operations of the CCC in Utah have been relatively extensive due to the many national parks within the state and the extent of public domain controlled under provisions of the Federal Grazing Act. Therefore, in most instances, all Utah enrollees are assigned to camps located in the state. The number of came's located in Utah has varied during the five-year period, being 26 in June, 1938. The enrollees in 6 of these camps were composed of Utah boys, averaging 150 enrollees per camp, or a total of 900. The membership of the remaining 20 camps was made up from states of the South, the Middle-West, New York, and New Jersey. The aggregate number of Utah boys enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps at some time during the five-year period was 15,912, and in addition, many Utah men were employed as non-enrolled personnel, such as work project assistants. The 26 camps in operation in Utah as or June, 1938, are listed below according to the federal division or bureau, or state department, providing and supervising the various types of projects:

    Project SupervisionNumber of Camps
    Division of Grazing8
    Forest Service8
    State Parks1
    National Parks1
    Soil Conservation Service5
    Bureau of Reclamation2
    Biological Survey1

  5. The CCC program offers exceptional opportunities for work experience, especially to those who remain in camp longer than one six-month enrollment period. Many have received intensive training in truck-driving, caterpillar-operation, and experience as cooks and mess stewards. Each camp maintains an educational unit, to which attendance by the enrollee is voluntary. The trades and handicrafts are emphasized in these units, and elementary and high school courses are offered in some subjects.

  6. In addition to the material and intangible benefits received by the enrollees and their families, the entire citizenry of the state is benefited by the projects conducted by the CCC. The outstanding work accomplishments of the Corps during the five years of its operation in Utah are:

    Truck trails, miles2,544
    Impounding and diversion dams, number242
    Irrigation channel clearing, square yards1,227,861
    Stream and lake bank protection, square yards10,029,715
    Camp stoves and fireplaces, number1,035
    Rodent Control, acres843,246
    Fences, rods344,012
    Pipe or tile lines, water supply systems, linear feet386,888

  7. Besides the benefits which accrue from conservation work, Utah benefits materially from funds spent in the state by the CCC through the Fort Douglas District of the War Department. It is estimated that the operating cost of each CCC camp is approximately $200,000 per year, including the earnings of enrollees and all administrative expense, but not including the purchase of camp sites. Much of the needed camp equipment is necessarily purchased from concerns outside the state, but the Civilian Conservation Corps estimates that it has spent in Utah $26,492,000 from its beginning in 1933 to June 30, 1938, including earnings of enrollees.