President & CEO Nicholas Redding testified this week, in front of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee, in support of  legislation, SB228, to make improvements to the Maryland Corps program, including the creation of a state Historic Trades Corps. 

Preservation Maryland powers The Campaign for Historic Trades, creating hands-on opportunities for individuals looking to explore, build, or expand historic trades careers through a partnership with the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center, and the organization therefore enthusiastically supports the creation of a state initiative modeled after the successful federal program.

Sponsored by Senate President Bill Ferguson, the bill, Maryland Corps Program – Revisions, is focused on bringing
service opportunities across Maryland into the 21st century. Among many other worthy goals, it would create a Maryland Historic Trades Corps to place young adults and veterans in regionally based work crews across Maryland to rehabilitate the state’s historic resources.

Maryland boasts a long and vibrant history.

One of the benefits of that is a large stock of historic structures and buildings in every corner of our state. Indeed, Maryland has tens of thousands of structures which contribute to historic districts listed on National Register of Historic Places, a program of the National Department of the Interior and the National Parks Service, which recognizes districts, buildings, structures, objects, and sites for their significance in American history, archeology, architecture, engineering, or culture, and identifies them as worthy of preservation. Every day, more buildings in Maryland become eligible for the Register as they age and become part of our collective history.  Buildings on the National Register of Historic Places require work done to the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation.  Therefore, specialized training is needed to ensure work complies with these standards.

As the historic building stock increases, there is a demand for more labor skilled and versed in historic preservation.

Unfortunately, there is currently a documented and severe shortage of trained preservation tradespeople. SB228 would help address this crisis by investing in workforce training in the traditional trades through a Maryland Historic Trades Corps program. Participants would gain valuable experience on historic preservation projects in the state of Maryland, and at the conclusion of their experience would be abundantly qualified to enter the private sector, begin a job with the State of Maryland, or join one of Maryland’s many trade unions to pursue a career in a variety of fields, including finish carpentry, frame carpentry, roofing, masonry and painting

Redding’s testimony begins at 1:07:50: