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How Not to Lose the Lockdown Generation

August 08, 2020

Naomi Klein, The Intercept

Naomi Klein reflects on how New Deal era projects – including the National Youth Administration’s “little huts” project for tuberculosis quarantine – could inform government policy today.  

“The TB cabins were just one of thousands upon thousands of projects taken on by the 4.5 million young people who joined the NYA: a vast program started in 1935 that paired young people in economic need, who could not find jobs in the private sector, with publicly minded work that needed doing. They gained marketable skills, while earning money that allowed many to stay, or return to, high school or college. Other NYA projects including building some of the country’s most iconic urban parks, repairing thousands of dilapidated schools and outfitting them with playgrounds; and stocking classrooms with desks, lab tables, and maps the young workers had made and painted themselves. NYA workers built huge outdoor pools and artificial lakes, trained to be teaching and nursing aides, and even built entire youth centers and small schools from scratch, often while living together in ‘resident centers.'”

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