AUGUST 21, 1940
HYDE PARK, Tuesday —My first stop yesterday morning was at the WPA office in New York City, where WPA interviewers are accepting applications from people now on WPA who wish to be allowed to take a training course in one of the New York City training schools. The Board of Education also checks the information which each individual gives. Fifty percent of the people taking these courses come from WPA and there are, of course, a great many more applications than can be accepted.
I talked to one man who wanted to take a course in telegraphy. It was nine years since he had given up this occupation, but he felt he wished to return to it. I asked the officials what they did with people who could not immediately be taken into some defense industry and they said they were able to place about fifty percent of them on WPA programs in some work along the lines of the skills which they had gained, or had regained during training.
It seems to me that there is a hitch somewhere when the flow from training to jobs is not fairly rapid. When one reads of the necessity for speed in production, one cannot help wondering why this flow of men into jobs is not more rapid. As I understand it, after skilled and semi-skilled workers have been trained and re-employed, the reservoir of young people will be trained to fill the normal increases that should come in these industries.
This is where the NYA and CCC, with greatly increased mechanical facilities, will be called upon to do their share of the job. It will be, however, a defense job, and should, I believe, not be considered only from the point of view of doing something for young people, but also of doing a very necessary piece of work in the defense of the country.
After leaving the WPA office, I went to two of the schools. The shops were certainly efficient looking and the men seemed absorbed in their work. They must be getting good training, or there would not be that sense of interest and drive which there was in practically every room we entered.
It was not a very good day in New York City. In the afternoon the rain came down in torrents and on the drive home the windshield wipers were kept busy. I returned in time for a quiet dinner and evening with the President and a small party. Most of the evening was spent listening to the radio.
Today is delightfully cool with a grand breeze blowing. Riding was really a joy this morning. The President and some friends are lunching with me at the cottage.