Preservation Training for Young Adults
In 2015, World Monuments Fund (WMF) launched Bridge to Crafts Careers (B2CC), an initiative established to offer underrepresented youth in the New York City area hands-on technical training with the opportunity for placement in a stable career.
A Successful Pilot Program at Woodlawn Cemetery
For its pilot program, WMF partnered with the Woodlawn Conservancy, which manages the historic Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York, and the International Masonry Institute (IMI). Twelve paid interns participated in a summer program at the cemetery, home to a variety of stone types and large monuments and mausolea. The interns were recruited from New York City public high schools with a preservation focus, as well as local social services agencies such as The Door and Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow.
Under the supervision of a resident craftsman at Woodlawn Cemetery, a position created with the help of IMI, the interns received ten weeks of classroom and hands-on training in masonry cleaning, conservation, and maintenance techniques. They also received an additional week of Occupational Safety and Health Administration training and scaffold safety training with IMI. Following the program, three interns were selected for a paid apprenticeship at Woodlawn Cemetery. Others were offered positions at New York-based private restoration firms or masonry contractors.
Bridge to Crafts Careers Today
Building on the success of the 2015 pilot, additional internship programs were held at Woodlawn Cemetery in 2016 and every year since, continuing to feed new craftspeople into the preservation work force.
B2CC Program Expansion
In 2018, the B2CC program was introduced at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where it continues to welcome new interns every year. In 2020, WMF launched its first B2CC landscape preservation program at Woodlawn, respecting COVID-19 social-distancing measures and staggering the interns’ presence on-site over three months. The Davey Tree Expert Company, specialized in environmental consulting and horticultural care, provided trainees with virtual classes.
In addition to two successful programs at the Green-Wood and Woodlawn Cemeteries in spring 2021, graduates of the B2CC program at Woodlawn brought their stonemasonry skills to rehabilitating damaged grave markers at the African-American Cemetery in Rye, NY, with support from the Jay Heritage Center. The work completed represented a modest but important step in bringing much-needed resources to historic cemeteries and burial grounds of African American communities.
World Monuments Fund safeguards cultural heritage around the globe, ensuring our treasured places are preserved for present and future generations.
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Last updated: June 2021.