Photographs by Peter Goldberg

The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) today announced its inaugural Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program. Through the organization’s Historic Trades Initiative, local contractors can nominate members of their workforce for the initial 12-week program. Upon completion, the participants will receive a Preservation Trades Specialist Certification from NRF.

The Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program was developed through conversations with local craftspeople about their workforce needs. More than 50% of Newport properties are considered historic and require specialized maintenance or restoration, and the preservation community is experiencing a sharp decline in the number of skilled tradespeople. “This premiere training program is a culmination of research and planning with our local and national partners over the last 18 months,” said Kris Turgeon, NRF’s Historic Trades Manager. “We are excited to offer this unique learning opportunity for our local community.” NRF partnered with The Campaign for Historic Trades to develop 60 hours of curriculum for this program, a combination of lessons and activities inside and outside of the classroom. The Campaign, a dynamic national workforce development initiative powered by Preservation Maryland in partnership with the National Park Service, has a broader mission to produce open education resources for trades training to expand and strengthen career opportunities in the historic trades.

Displaying Peter Goldberg- Carpentry.jpg
Photographs by Peter Goldberg

The subject matter for the program covers a variety of topics, ranging from historic preservation fundamentals to brick and stone masonry.  Participating organizations include Kirby Perkins Construction, Crocker Architectural, Heritage Restoration, and Joseph Gnazzo Company, Inc. The International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) has partnered with NRF to use the school’s facilities as a classroom. The first cohort of the Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program will begin in November, with a second iteration of the program planned for spring 2023.

The Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program has been made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the 1772 Foundation, and the Historic Preservation Education Foundation. “NRF is extremely grateful to our funders who have made this next phase of the Historic Trades Initiative possible,” said Alyssa Lozupone, Director of Preservation at NRF. “As NRF continues to advocate for the development of the historic trades workforce, we look forward to the skills these participants will learn during the 12-week program.” Organizations or individuals interested in participating in the Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program should contact kris@newportrestoration.org or apply directly at newportrestoration.org/preservation.

The Historic Trades Initiative was launched in 2021 to increase interest and expertise in the preservation trades. The Initiative recently completed an internship program with two students from IYRS in Newport, RI, and the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA, giving the students to opportunity to work in NRF’s mill and in the field with the preservation carpentry crew. In July, the Initiative also partnered with FabNewport on their summer youth program to enable local students to learn about preservation and historic sites, with experiential learning at Prescott Farm in Middletown, RI and Rough Point Museum in Newport, RI.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...