Partners to Work Toward Preservation Workforce Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chairman Aimee Jorjani today announced the formation of the ACHP Traditional Trades Training Task Force, which will work to promote the development of a robust workforce in the skilled preservation trades.

“The skilled craft worker is the one who will maintain, conserve, and restore our historic places,” said Chairman Jorjani, who will serve as Task Force chairman. “Now is the time to acknowledge and identify the need to train the craft worker through a widely recognized standard. These front line workers who do the maintenance and preservation work are as integral to historic preservation as architects, building owners, policy makers, preservation commissions, and consultants. This specialized field requires both an environment of lifelong learning and skills-based training outside of modern-day construction techniques and advanced degrees.”

The Task Force’s goal is to build a preservation ethic in construction trades and highlight the worth of the skilled craft worker. To that end, the Task Force will consider key issues regarding preservation trades credentialing, apprenticeships, and curriculum development. By exploring current opportunities and future possibilities, the group will seek to develop recommendations for federal action that could be embodied in a formal ACHP policy statement.

Joining Chairman Jorjani as vice chairmen of the Task Force will be Moss Rudley, Superintendent of the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC), and Nicholas Redding, Executive Director of Preservation Maryland.

“Having been part of historic preservation and the trades for more than 20 years, I have witnessed other efforts to bring back to the traditional trades and preservation trade workers a standard, a legitimacy, and a career opportunity by providing standards and guidelines,” Rudley said. “I feel with the ACHP’s support and this task force, we can align all the various resources to finally achieve bringing the  current and future trade workers to the table to be recognized for their skills and knowledge, and as part of the team in preserving our nation’s historic structures and landscapes.”

“Preservation is just good intentions without skilled tradespeople able to do the physical work required of restoring and rehabilitating old buildings," Redding added. "This new historic trades task force is precisely what’s needed at this moment–not just for preservation–but for our nation; these skills and the promise of well-paid jobs which they hold can play a critical role in the coming economic recovery. We can save our history and create meaningful career opportunities. Historic places not only speak to our past–but they can hold out a promise for our future–and I see this new task force as an effort aimed at ensuring that promise.”

Members of the Task Force include representatives of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Department of Education, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and other individuals with historic preservation, education, and architecture expertise.

“I am ecstatic to learn from this group of experts, so we can work toward identifying ways to provide opportunities and pathways for today’s generation of skilled workers, which will in turn enhance the opportunities to train the next generation,” Jorjani said.

The Task Force will have its first meeting in June. Members include the following experts:

Moss Rudley, Task Force Vice Chairman, is Superintendent of the HPTC. The center provides preservation services for national parks and training in traditional trades, including through the National Park Service’s Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program (TTAP).

Nicholas Redding, Task Force Vice Chairman, is Executive Director of Preservation Maryland, the largest preservation non-profit in Maryland. In 2019, Preservation Maryland launched the Campaign for Historic Trades in partnership with the HPTC.

Casey K. Sacks is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the U.S. Department of Education. She provides leadership for initiatives supporting career and technical education, adult education, correctional and re-entry education, and community colleges. She represents the Department of Education on the ACHP.

Ryan Hambleton is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior. He has direct responsibility for programs and departments associated with the management and conservation of cultural and natural resources. He represents the Department of the Interior on the ACHP.

Katherine Wonson is Director of the National Park Service’s Western Center for Historic Preservation, an education and resource center dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of cultural resources in Western national parks. The Center works to perpetuate traditional building knowledge and skills.

Rick Gonzalez, AIA, is the President and Founder of REG Architects, Inc. in West Palm Beach, Florida. The firm includes historic preservation among its specialties, and he is active in state and local preservation organizations. Recently President Donald Trump announced his intent to appoint Gonzalez to the ACHP.

James A. Turner is the owner of Turner Restoration in Detroit, Michigan, a company specializing in the repair and restoration of historic windows. He has promoted historic trades training with many organizations, including the Preservation Trades Network, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Samuel Plato Academy.

Simeon A. Warren is Chief of Architecture and Engineering at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. A trained stone carver and former dean of the American College of the Building Arts, he has more than 20 years of experience in developing academic programs for trades training.

Benjamin R. Curran is the Department Head of Savannah Technical College’s Historic Preservation and Restoration Program and the director of the college’s Center for Traditional Craft. He has been involved in the building trades since 1996 and has extensive experience in the preservation of numerous historic structures.

Milan Jordan is director of the HOPE Crew at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. HOPE Crew is bringing Hands-On Preservation Experience to the next wave of preservation tradespeople. Previously, she was Director of Workforce and Emerging Professionals at the American Institute of Architects.

Brian Lusher is the Historic Preservation Officer for the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently is involved in development of a preservation trades apprenticeship program in Puerto Rico. His previous work in the preservation field includes positions at the ACHP and the Department of the Navy.