The way I heard it, it was a success story. But that was a full generation after the fact.
Their work is still in evidence. Visit state or national parks existing prior to 1940 and you’ll see their work in buildings, trails, and terracing. They were young men in need of a job. Many of them came from families with unemployed fathers or older brothers. Some came from severe poverty and arrived with undernourished bodies but strong minds.
It was government work. Physical labor. But they received room, board, and wages to be sent home to the family. As one of the “alphabet” agencies they received their share of criticism. But a funny thing happened along the way. The young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps acquired skills (including following orders) just in time to join the military in WWII.
I was pleased to find them honored in a local park. One of hundreds of places they worked.