Helena, Mont. – The Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Preserve Montana today announced the launch of the Preserve Montana Trades Corps. From June to August 2024, this eight-week pilot program will support a four-person crew dedicated to exposing young people to the historic preservation trades. The corps will experience a diverse array of preservation trades skills and rehabilitation projects in rural communities across Montana, build a critical workforce, and support the national preservation trades network.

“The SCA is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Preserve Montana that will help address the critical shortage of skilled workers in the historic preservation trades,” said SCA President & CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon. “This exciting pilot program will create a dedicated crew of young people who will gain hands-on experience in a variety of preservation techniques through rehabilitation projects in Montana’s rural communities. Not only will this program help build a vital workforce for the future, but it will also contribute to the national network of preservation professionals.”

Working side-by-side with the Preserve Montana restoration crew, corps members will develop skills in several historic trades, including window restoration, carpentry, masonry, log work and preservation maintenance. Preserve Montana is a non-profit organization protecting Montana’s historic places, traditional landscapes, and cultural heritage through hands-on training, restoration projects, documentation, community engagement and advocacy.

To address the loss of tradespeople with preservation skills and knowledge, the Preserve Montana Trades Corps, in partnership with the SCA, is designed to train people in the traditional building trades, give them experience on a career path in preservation carpentry and construction, and preserve rural historic properties that might otherwise have trouble completing the physical repairs needed.

“Across Montana, the preservation trades are a dying field, yet our communities are filled with viable historic buildings that connect us to our places and meet our modern needs,” said Preserve Montana Executive Director Jenny Buddenborg. “That is why we are so excited to launch the Preserve Montana Trades Corps in partnership with the SCA. This innovative youth training program will help build a critical, skilled workforce to address the shortage of preservation tradespeople and strengthen Montana’s communities and economy through historic preservation.”

Corps members will participate in a range of projects, including rebuilding and glazing wood sash windows, repointing masonry walls, replacing wood shingle roofs, scraping and repainting clapboard siding, log and timber wall repairs, rebuilding historic porches, railings and other building elements. In addition to the hands-on work, corps members will have the opportunity to participate in a series of training and project experiences to provide grounding in several historic trades, beginning with initial training at the Baxendale Preservation Training Center in Helena and then working alongside our skilled tradespeople on preservation projects all around Montana.

The Preserve Montana Trades Corps is funded in part by gifts and grants to Preserve Montana from the McDonald Family, A&E Design, Moe Family Fund for Statewide and Local Partners of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and The Steele-Reese Foundation.

About the Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the largest provider of hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and young adults. Program participants protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces across the country. The SCA is devoted to building equitable access to nature, providing green job opportunities for young people and teaching members how to become environmental stewards. Founded in 1957, the SCA is committed to building the next generation of conservation leaders dedicated to the lifelong protection of the environment and the communities we serve. For more, visit www.thesca.org.

About Preserve Montana
Preserve Montana works to protect historic places, traditional landscapes and cultural heritage across Big Sky Country. Founded in 1987, the nonprofit Preserve Montana is dedicated to empowering people with the leadership, knowledge and tools to protect Montana’s heritage today, for tomorrow. For more, visit PreserveMontana.org | @preservemontana.