Frederick County hosts an impressive Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) that trains the National Park Service and others in historic trades, which can help fill skills gaps in workforce and prep constituents for in-demand careers.
The Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) located in Frederick County is dedicated to the “safe preservation and maintenance of national parks or partner facilities by demonstrating outstanding leadership, delivering quality preservation services, and developing educational courses that fulfill the competency requirements of Service employees in the career fields of Historic Preservation Skills, Risk Management, Maintenance, and Planning, Design, and Construction.”
The HPTC’s website states:
The HPTC utilizes historic preservation projects as the main vehicle for teaching preservation philosophy and building crafts, technology, and project management skills. Our experiential learning approach emphasizes flexibility in addressing the unknown conditions encountered during the project and ensures that the goals of preservation are met.
The Campaign for Historic Trades
The HPTC is part of Preservation Maryland’s Campaign for Historic Trades, which seeks to educate about and fill the gap in historic trades. Preservation Maryland’s website states:
According to a 2019 survey by the associated general contractors of america, 80 percent of construction firms reported having difficulty in filling craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce. similarly, a survey by the national association of home builders found 82 percent of respondents expected labor shortages to be their top issue in 2019. this lack of skilled workers is further magnified for the specialized traditional trades often needed for historic preservation projects.
As members of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation’s Traditional Trades Training Task Force, the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) and the Campaign have partnered to enact the goals established in this policy statement.
The Campaign for Historic Trades’ current priority objectives include:
- Developing a first-of-its-kind open-source curriculum and course content for historic trades training.
- Federally registered apprenticeships for critical historic trades.
- Working with educational, non-profit, and for-profit partners to accelerate training.
The Campaign is also building out a service corps to place trainees directly in the field. These trainees will learn how to restore iconic historic resources on public lands. It also supports the diverse needs of the HPTC, with a central focus on the Center’s work to train skilled preservation tradespeople through its Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program (TTAP). The Campaign expands the program’s scale and geographic footprint.
The role of counties
Counties are at the forefront of apprenticeship programs, workforce development, and education and career readiness. Counties can leverage these priorities and existing work to partner with the HPTC and similar programs via local community colleges to expand initiatives into historic trades, an in-demand industry with translatable skillsets.
In fact, a recent labor study found that there are approximately 100,000 highly specialized jobs created by historic rehabilitation projects in the United States, $121 billion of direct labor income created by historic rehabilitation activity, and on average, for every $100 in direct labor income an additional $186 is generated in paychecks for indirect and induced jobs.
MACo is working closely with partner organizations Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges to explore ways to support historic trades education and apprenticeships as one solution to the ongoing housing shortage and affordability crisis.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more on this and other MACo projects.