There are about a dozen workbenches inside Commonwealth Preservation Trades in the Russell neighborhood; some are covered in half-assembled stained-glass windows, others are being used to prop up freshly-primed doors. The adjoining classroom has walls plastered with signs about worker safety and a poster detailing how to read measuring tape.
Window restoration, woodworking and historic masonry are just some of the skills taught through Commonwealth’s free program, which was established in 2016 with the mission of connecting area residents with jobs related to historic home preservation.
Over 20 students have made their way through the program, and now, Executive Director James Turner wants to bring that knowledge to the general public.
In May, Commonwealth will host the Midwestern Preservation Trade Expo, a showcase of jobs related to the home restoration industry.
“The expo is to provide an exhibition of historic trades,” Turner said. “It is to show in this area what can be done with historic homes, and homes in west Louisville and in Louisville overall are in need of restoration and people who know how to do that.”
Turner said there is a big gap between the number of people able to do these jobs and the number of homes in need of repair.
“Even though we have newer suburbs, most of our communities are over 100 years old,” Turner said. “And with the restoration and or repair that is needed, there’s an ever-increasing lack of skilled tradespeople.”
The Midwestern Preservation Trade Expo will take place May 10 and 11.
More information is available here.