World War II Programs

The 1944 Annual Report stated that the California Polytechnic was one educational institution which needed no re-orientation of its educational program in order to take over its share of National Defense, and later War Production Training. The college was equipped with the facilities and educational pattern capable of training skilled workmen quickly. National Defense Training classes were begun September 3, 1940 at the very inception of this program in the United States. Many classes were held 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cal Poly, one of the first institutions in the nation to be granted a National Youth Administration Resident Project, dedicated its first unit in October, 1940.

In May, 1941, a course for radio technicians was added to the War Production Training Program. In March Of 1942, classes were started to train individuals for Civil Service employment in United States air depots. The following July saw the beginning of radio training classes for the Signal Corps.

By February 19, 1943, the War Production classes were terminated and the United States Naval Flight Preparatory School was established on campus; 3,490 men and women went through the War Production Training Program, more than 3,600 cadets completed the World Naval Flight Preparatory program, and 1,121 trainees attended the Naval Academic Refresher Program.

The student population during World War II decreased to less than 100 young men who were primarily classified as 4-F (physically disqualified for service). The facilities of the institution had been utilized to full capacity with minimum adaptation by the War Production and Naval Flight Training programs.

The California Veterans Welfare Act and Public Law 346 or Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill of Rights) were the catalysts to the Cal Poly of today. The unique educational plan in effect at Cal Poly at this time was of particular interest to veterans receiving benefits under Public Law 346 and guaranteed one year of college training with additional periods of training dependent upon the length of service and the satisfactory completion of previous training. Under this practical Cal Poly plan which grouped as many job-getting and technical courses in the first two years as possible, the student found that at whatever point he would leave school, he would have a maximum knowledge of skills which would enable him to earn a living. In the third and fourth year, the took in addition to courses in his major, most of those subjects which are sometimes considered as background and/or broadening.

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