A note from Natalie Henshaw, Director of The Campaign for Historic Trades

Happy New Year! As we move into 2023, I want to take a moment and reflect on 2022. The Campaign for Historic Trades’ mission is to expand and strengthen careers in the historic trades. Necessary to its success is the relationship with the people it impacts—we want to structure our work to be supportive of – and responsive to – the preservation trades community.

The feedback we’ve gotten so far has been affirming. We’re grappling with a workforce problem a century in the making, with a long history of efforts to address the issue. Jeff Greene of Evergreene Architectural Arts likened it to climate change—monumental, long in the making, and nebulous.

This analogy and its parallels stuck with me. Solutions to climate change rely on data; similarly, our solutions need to be data-driven and accessible. We spent 2022 laying the foundation for data driven solutions:

  • We increased our staff, hiring our Workshop Coordinator, Curriculum Developer, and Recruitment Associate, in addition to onboarding our newest AmeriCorps VISTA.
  • We set up the systems to publish open education resources—we researched platforms, created copyright and licensure plans, formed a partnership with CENCOR to provide Spanish language translations, and received funding to create K – 12 teaching resources and produce training videos.
  • We piloted our Rural Maryland Cemetery Workshops series, using it as a real-time lab to test curriculum and outreach methods to engage young people in the historic trades.
  • We received authority from the State of Maryland to create the Maryland Historic Trades Corps.
  • We worked with different trades associations and employers to draft four different apprenticeships—Preservation Technician, Deconstruction Technician, Historic Window Technician, and Preservation Carpenter.
  • We published a first-of-its-kind Historic Trades Labor Study, which assesses the current and future historic trades labor force in the United States.
  • We launched our new website, designed to help people learn more about how they can get involved and find resources to start or grow a historic trades career.

In 2023, we will start building the framework. We will:

  • Launch Preservelist.org as a national, free directory of historic trades businesses.
  • Pilot a Train the Trainer course.
  • Expand our workshop series.
  • Register the drafted apprenticeships and recruit apprentices.
  • Publish 60+ hours of historic trades coursework.
  • Create preservation training certificates in allied industries.
  • Host monthly Talking Trades calls and host our first-ever Train the Trainer Convening.
  • Start a mentorship program.
  • Seek funding for small business support in the historic trades.

I encourage you to get involved. To make The Campaign the best it can be, we want to stay in touch with the people it impacts. Our website is set up for community building—you can share training and job opportunities, networks, scholarships, and more. Join us on our monthly Talking Trades calls, for our Train the Trainer convening, and engage with us on social media. Let us know—how can we help?