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Historic preservation is the theme for new youth programs hosted at historic Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx and sponsored in part by in-kind training from Cathedral Stone Products, Inc.
“One program exposes high school students to the concepts of historic preservation, the other is helping to train the next generation of masons so they know how to restore historic buildings from the start – and can get hired,” said Mitch Rose, President and CEO of The Woodlawn Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, and now in its 153th year.
A collaboration between Woodlawn Conservancy, World Monuments Fund, and the International Masonry Institute, The Woodlawn Cemetery Preservation Training Program includes:
· A nine-week training program in restoration masonry for 18-24 year olds that provides both classroom learning and extensive hands-on training in workshops and on the grounds of The Woodlawn Cemetery. Students can earn certifications in Cathedral Stone masonry restoration systems, as well as platform and suspend scaffolding, and receive OSHA training. The Interns are taught by IMI instructor Rob Cappiello, a 25-year veteran of the trades. The program depends on grants and sponsorships.
· A six-week summer career preview program, for rising seniors from Bronx International High School, was created to provide younger students with a taste of the historic preservation field as applied to masonry. Students learn about preservation careers, as well as procedures for documenting a historic site, including GIS mapping, and how to preserve fragile stones.
On successful completion of the Preservation Training Program, students receive certified-installer status for Cathedral Stone Products. “The building industry is always hungry for people with masonry and preservation skills, and those who move through the program will have a better chance to build a stronger future,” said Steven Cortazzo, Director of Sales, Cathedral Stone Products.
Woodlawn Conservancy, WMF and IMI started the Preservation Training Program last year as a pilot to address the needs of underserved, high-potential 18 to 24 year-olds in the community. Twelve young people completed the 2015 internship program. Three were selected for continuing apprenticeships at Woodlawn, and five of the other nine secured jobs in the trades. The 2016 intern program began in July and includes sixteen 18-24 year olds, plus nine high-school students.
“There are many stories that dwell here, and we take our role as preservationists seriously. These programs are ways that we breathe new life into our community,” said Rose. The Woodlawn Cemetery Preservation Training Program receives funding from: World Monuments Fund, Heckscher Foundation for Children, The Dalio Foundation, Inc., Achelis Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and the Office of City Council Member Andrew Cohen.
Rose emphasized that community outreach programs depend on donations as well as in-kind sponsorships. “Cathedral Stone, for example, provides not only materials but instructors and certification programs for students,” he said. For more information about the two programs, contact Woodlawn Cemetery (www.thewoodlawncemetery.org), 877-496-6352.