Covington Academy of Heritage Trades would mean more jobs, better pay, analysis finds

Training workers to become skilled in the trades needed to preserve and rehab historic homes could lead to more jobs, higher pay, and a more stable base of old, historic homes in the community.

Those are the findings of a detailed analysis of the local market and workforce dedicated to repairing, maintaining and restoring historic buildings. The report was completed by PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, for the city of Covington.

The city is moving ahead with a plan to “skill up” workers in the trades essential to maintaining old homes and buildings. It’s working with the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky and its Enzweiler Building Institute to start an academy devoted to such “heritage building trades.”

READ MORE: Creating a workforce dedicated to historic preservation  

The PlaceEconomics report, presented in May, supports the need for the program. “Virtually every finding of this report supports the establishment of the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades,” it concludes.

Among the findings:
  • Nearly 100 jobs a year are supported by repair and restoration work in Covington’s local and national register historic districts alone. But there’s a pressing need for workers trained in the historic building trades, a need aggravated by a nationwide shortage of construction workers in general.
  • Workers with training and expertise in historic preservation trades are paid 9% more than workers in non-historic construction trades.
  • The collective wages paid to workers on projects in Covington’s historic districts amounted to $8.5 million a year between 2013 and 2021.
Covington officials are exploring ways to make the training as accessible to as many people as possible, including finding ways to overcome barriers to transportation, costs, child care, language, and scheduling.

“The more talented and skilled the local workforce, the more vibrant and sustainable the local economy,” says Tom West, director of Covington’s Economic Development Department.

Covington so far has received funding for the academy from federal grants, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as city funding.
 

 

Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.