Insights and Perspective


Insights and Perspective


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This image depicts Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Wagner Unemployment Bill in 1933.

On June 6, 1933, The Wagner-Peyser Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Wagner Unemployment Bill, essentially creating the what we know today as the "labor exchange."

A byproduct of the Great Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal, Rep. Theodore A. Peyser, Sen. Robert Wagner (both from New York), and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins worked vigorously behind the scenes to make the Act a reality. 

The bill established a national employment system, as well as a network of public employment offices known as the United States Employment Service. The network would later become the Department of Labor. Fast forward 65 years later: in 1998, the Wagner-Peyser Act was amended to make the Employment Service part of the One-Stop services delivery system, a major development that indirectly paved the way for the inception of Virtual OneStop®.

And although these heads of labor radicalized the idea of employment services in the United States, the concept of a national employment service can't be solely accredited to Peyser, Perkins, Wagner, and Roosevelt. Its roots reach back as far as 1563, when Queen Elizabeth I mandated laws (Statute of Artificers) that helped English trade unions find young apprentices.

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