LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Commonwealth Preservation Trades program is searching for applicants for the next six-month course.

The trades school is one of west Louisville’s hidden gems, located off West Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The program’s executive director, James Turner, said it is not about new construction or remodeling but about historic preservation.

“One of the things that is failing in most urban centers is a significant growth of the trades,” said Turner.

The course gives students free trades training to help them find jobs and revitalize Louisville.

“It gives them more confidence to look at the city’s program for vacant and abandoned houses,” said Turner. “And whether they should launch or dive into that.”

Currently, they are accepting applications for the next six-month program, which should start July 16. All the training and education, valued at $14,000, is free through mitigation funding for the bridge projects, according to Turner.

“It’s the best form of workforce development, because it ties a person to their community,” he said.

And the program targets those in West Louisville, 18 years old and above.

“Particularly in the Portland, Russel, and California neighborhoods, we have valuable architecture there,” the executive director said.

Students will learn how to do things like restore existing windows, plaster, led and stained glass, and so much more. These are skills and trades current students are eager to develop and preserve.

“To have the ability to learn all this and learn these skills and not have to pay for it,” said student Melissa Gaddie, “I mean, I would’ve paid five times over just to be able to learn how to do this!”

Turner added that Louisville is a perfect spot to put these skills to work.

“Louisville has been touted as being the second largest stock of shotgun housing, second only to New Orleans,” he said.

Former students have used the skills to purchase and restore vacant houses through the city’s program. They have also used the knowledge to properly restore their existing homes.

The students also see a value in anyone hoping to develop a career in the trades industry in Louisville.

“It’s worth it,” said Gaddie. “You could set up a nice small business for yourself. And there’s plenty of houses here that need love and care and restoration.”

To apply for the upcoming program, click here.

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