MAY 8, 1941
CHICAGO, Wednesday—I never leave my family in Seattle without real regret, but yesterday afternoon I had to go. This has been a rather longer visit than usual and we have done more things which were not purely part of a family reunion.
Yesterday morning, before leaving, I went to see some of the National Youth Administration work. Their resident project here is not as yet finished, but they have some defense training similar to that going on in various places. I had some difficulty getting clear in my mind the various types of training which I had seen. That which is being done under the Apprenticeship Council and in collaboration with the Edison Vocational School, is under the Smith-Hughes Act and has nothing to do with defense training.
Defense training is being carried on in three other vocational high schools. As in other places, they must take 50 percent of the people to be re-trained from the WPA program. I was told there had been some difficulty here because so many of their WPA people never had a skill. The other 50 percent in this defense training program are either employed and coming in for refresher courses, or young people from NYA who can qualify, or from some other qualified source.
I think it is safe to say that cuts in WPA everywhere in the country are affecting adversely the married or single woman who is the breadwinner for her family. In many cases a really serious condition is being brought about. The whole question of WPA cuts should have some careful revision and consideration. People removed from WPA and who still cannot find work, go on relief, with an increased burden on the locality and a loss of self-respect to the individual.
In addition to this just now, I think there is on the part of many of the women a great sense of injustice. In the case of NYA, the quota everywhere continues to be filled, because all eligible young people were never on NYA in the past.
I have a suggestion in a letter from a woman and it has been running through my mind ever since I read it. She feels that we should start some gigantic projects for saving and processing all kinds of foodstuffs in preparation for feeding a good part of the world someday. I have been wondering if every community should not start the study of what could be done with every kind of waste material.
It will require a great deal of education and much labor, but it might mean that many people who now go without things here in our own country, might have far more than they have ever had before. It seems to me that the study should be done at first, community by community, and then spread out as the need and efficiency methods seem to indicate. This is just an idea, but I hope someone will give it some real thought.
Here I am in Chicago, and I shall spend the morning getting a good rest after the night on the plane.