Preservation Maryland and The Campaign for Historic Trades Release First-of-its-Kind Labor Study on the Status of Historic Trades in America

11/15/2022
By Dana Cohen

 Analysis shows the need for a larger and better-trained historic trades workforce; 100,000 workers needed within the next decade

BALTIMORE (November 15, 2022)Preservation Maryland and its national program, The Campaign for Historic Trades, today announced the completion of a first-of-its-kind labor study on the status of historic trades in America. The study is believed to be the most comprehensive survey ever prepared on the status of the traditional trades in the United States. While ample data exists for the construction industry as a whole, specific and consistent labor market statistics have not previously existed for the historic trades.

The Campaign for Historic Trades is a national workforce development program powered by the statewide non-profit Preservation Maryland in partnership with the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center. As part of its mission to identify and resolve systemic barriers to historic trades careers, The Campaign sought to define historic trades occupations and ascertain the current and future market need for trained tradespeople. With this new study, conducted by PlaceEconomics – a firm with decades of experience in the analysis of the economic impact of preservation – and the data it provides, the gap between the need for historic preservation trades workers and the trained hands to perform the work is estimated and forecasted for the first time in history.

“Quantifying the disconnect between the need for historic preservation trades workers and the trained hands to perform the work allows us to make the strong case for funding to support our bold initiative and, most importantly, create a larger and better-trained workforce to preserve historic places across the country,” explained Natalie Henshaw, Director of The Campaign for Historic Trades.

Key Findings

The portion of the construction industry that is focused on historic rehabilitation is large and growing. Heritage trades make up an estimated 12.6% of all building rehabilitation jobs. Both the number of buildings considered historic and the amount of money invested in their rehabilitation are on upward curves. But there is a serious shortage of workers who are trained and experienced in the historic preservation trades.

 

 

The rehabilitation of historic buildings is a labor-intensive activity, meaning a high share of the total expenditure goes to labor. These projects create more localized jobs compared to new construction activities.

 

 

“Historic preservation is not niche,” said Nicholas Redding, president and CEO of Preservation Maryland and The Campaign for Historic Trades. “It’s a major component of the nation’s construction industry and this study underscores the need for communities all across America to invest in the workforce that will sustain this growing, diverse, and significant component of the trades landscape.”

To access the full labor study, visit www.historictrades.org/laborstudy

Dana Cohen · Director of Communications

As an award-winning communications professional who creates and manages strategic campaigns, Dana works with our team and partners to tell the stories about our important preservation work and highlight what makes Maryland’s historic buildings, communities, and landscapes special.

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