We are excited to have partnered with our neighbor, the National Historic Landmark Green-Wood Cemetery, to help young adults ranging from 18-27 learn essential skills to start a career in masonry restoration! This 10-week pilot program began in March and serves 10 New York City residents. The brainchild of World Monuments Fund, a private non-profit dedicated to saving the world’s most treasured places, and in partnership with the International Masonry Institute, the program responds to a nationwide need for more trained professionals in the field of historic preservation. This program is also made possible with support from the NYS Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).
OBT is providing business and soft skills training to the cohort. Students explore careers and college options; learn about finances and resumes; practice interviewing skills, basic project management, and time management; and keep a weekly journal reflecting on what they’ve learned. They also build camaraderie and develop their ability to work as a team through group exercises.
Trainees are currently working to restore two of the Cemetery’s most notable nineteenth-century mausoleums: the Miller Mausoleum, built in 1870, and the William Niblo Vault, built in 1852. Upon completion of the program, interns will earn a 10-hour OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) certification. The internship also includes the courses in swing scaffolding and supported scaffolding that are required by the NYC Department of Buildings. Neela Wickremesinghe, Manager of Restoration and Preservation at Green-Wood Cemetery, states about this partnership, “Training competent restoration technicians is integral to the longevity and success of the historic preservation movement in New York. I am so proud that Green-Wood can host this program and train the next generation of skilled craftworkers.” The paid internships are underwritten by The Green-Wood Historic Fund, whose mission is to promote and preserve The Green-Wood Cemetery, and the on-site trainer from the International Masonry Institute is sponsored by World Monuments Fund.
In reflecting on what he’s learned so far, masonry intern Diego Mullo shared, “These weeks have been so beneficial to me because I have learned how to manage my finances, make my budget, and how to prepare for interviews. I have developed my own budget and from now on I will continue managing my money wisely … on our first tour to the Green-Wood Cemetery I learned some of the historical architecture fixtures which make this place so important and special to locals and visitors.”
At the end of the program, OBT will work individually with the participants to refer them to the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 union for the union exam and apprenticeships (in partnership with the International Masonry Institute), place them in jobs in the trade and/or higher education to pursue careers as architects or estimators, or in other related fields.