Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Little WPA

"In January, the Parks and People Foundation announced that it would hire twenty-two workers to staff up its Green Up, Clean Up initiative...The teams will restore wildlife habitat and streams,plant trees, pull weeds, and clean up trash in Baltimore City...The money comes from the U.S.Forestry Service..."

"Baltimore Observed," Urbanite, February, 10,2010.

I'm convinced that we have a "little WPA" in the making in most cities and states. It's not huge and it's no doubt time-limited because of using ARRA funding -- but public jobs are being created. I'm not sure anyone understands that this is really going on.

So what! Well, I think we need some faith restored, at least for policy-makers,that local governments, foundations, and nonprofits can run public jobs programs and get good results for people and communities. We should put together a picture of these efforts, accross the country, but also as they aggegate in specific cities.

Some questions I have: Who gets the jobs? What are the wages and benefits? Are there wraparound educational services? Are there placement services once the jobs are done? How often do the jobs turnover for new hires? How are the public and community benefits measured?

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