Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s plan to create a year of service for young people will have a hearing in Annapolis next week – and a nonprofit organization focused on historic preservation is hoping to participate in the program.
Nicholas Redding, president and CEO of the almost 90-year-old nonprofit Preservation Maryland, believes the Campaign for Historic Trades would be a natural fit with the service year component of the “SERVE Act,” which Gov. Moore mentioned in his state of the state address in Annapolis.
“It’s focused on recruiting and engaging young adults and recent veterans in learning historic trade skills, which is how to restore and rehabilitate historic structures,” Redding said.
“The skills we’re talking about specifically are those focused on making sure that older buildings survive,” Redding added. “And that would include carpentry, masonry, roofing and restoration of historic windows.”
When it comes to how those jobs pay, he said they tend to be some of the best paid positions in the trades field, noting that a mason with expertise in restoration can earn in the six figures with only about five years of experience.
He explained that during the last General Assembly session in Annapolis, Preservation Maryland worked with Senate President Bill Ferguson on passing legislation to create “Maryland Corps,” an effort like “AmeriCorps,” which includes ways for young people to get involved in their communities.
“We’re really optimistic that we can play a small role alongside many other service organizations to get young adults out in the field and in this case, restoring places that matter all across the state,” Redding said.
On the organization’s previous work, Redding said that if you’ve toured the historic districts of Annapolis or Frederick, you’ve seen the results of the programs, partnerships and funding provided by Preservation Maryland.
Among the most recent projects, said Redding, was the rehab of a historic log cabin in Hagerstown that turned out to be one of the oldest standing structures left in Hagerstown, made of logs felled in the winter of 1739.
Redding said Preservation Maryland has also worked in partnership with the initial efforts to preserve Pleasant View Methodist Episcopal Church in Montgomery County, a church built by freed Black residents in the late 19th century.