In Collaboration with the International Masonry Institute, Pilot Program Aims to Provide Training and Job Opportunities in the Preservation Trades to Students Recruited from Area Schools

New York, NY, July 1, 2015—World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Woodlawn Conservancy, Inc., in collaboration with the International Masonry Institute (IMI), have partnered to create The Woodlawn Cemetery Preservation Training Program, a two year pilot program offering job training opportunities in stone masonry and stone conservation methodology for 12 student interns recruited from area schools that focus on the preservation trades. The students will work on select monuments at The Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, receiving hands-on technical training needed to succeed in the conservation field. Woodlawn Conservancy and IMI will seek job placements for all interns who successfully complete the program. Woodlawn Conservancy and WMF hope that this pilot program will serve as a national model for other historic cemeteries in the United States that often struggle to find the resources and help to conserve and preserve their monuments and mausoleums.

The program is supported with funds from World Monuments Fund and the Heckscher Foundation for Children. The program model aligns with the Heckscher Foundation’s focus on creating pathways to economic stability for disconnected older youth in New York City.

The interns will be taught by Robert Cappiello, Resident Craftsman at The Woodlawn Cemetery, a position specifically created for this program with the help of IMI. All participants will learn about the different stones used in the cemetery, from granites and limestone, to all the different types of marble, and how to analyze each stone and the best methods of cleaning and repairing them. In addition, they will attend classes about historic preservation, as well as safety procedures, which would be conducted by IMI. All participants who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate from IMI and WMF. The

project will be executed in collaboration with the social services organization Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT), who will provide valuable support to the students for the duration of the program.

Bonnie Burnham, President of World Monuments Fund, said, “WMF has a longstanding interest in establishing craftsman training programs at the sites we work on around the world, from the ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia, to the George Nakashima House in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. There is a growing need for craftspeople experienced in the preservation arts, and we are excited that this program will provide the training needed for these students to succeed in this field.”

Mitch Rose, President of The Woodlawn Cemetery & Conservancy, said, “With over 1,300 mausoleums and monuments in our care, we are thrilled to have The Woodlawn Cemetery serve as a unique laboratory for aspiring preservationists to receive hands-on training in stonework restoration. We envision a role for historic cemeteries across the country to play in workforce development of this kind that will also benefit their preservation needs, and are proud that Woodlawn Conservancy can be a pioneer in these synergistic efforts.”

Joan Calambokidis, President of International Masonry Institute, said, “IMI, along with the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union Local 1 NY, is honored to be a collaborator in this pilot program. Training programs like this bring young people into the trade, and help provide job readiness and stable careers. There is much work available in this field, whether at a cemetery or at other sites, both in the public or private sector.”

The training program consists of two parts. The first begins on July 6 and is a nine week summer program for 12 interns. These interns will spend eight weeks at The Woodlawn Cemetery, and one of their projects will be to work on the Archibald Gracie lot that includes headstones that are in need of repairs and maintenance. The interns will spend one week at the IMI facilities in Long Island City to complete OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training.

The second part of the program is a 19-month apprenticeship in masonry conservation and maintenance at The Woodlawn Cemetery for two interns who will be competitively selected from the initial group of 12. The first project for the two apprentices will be restoring the Webb family mausoleum.