Building Works // Training Programs

Supporting the next generation of preservation superstars

Even though Rhode Island has a wealth of older buildings — and most of us live, work, learn, and gather in them — we’re quickly losing the skills needed to keep these buildings safe and serving their highest use. Maintaining our historic properties is a team effort, and PPS’ Building Works initiative takes a two-prong approach to passing on the necessary skills.

First, we want to support the work being done by homeowners, renters, and community stewards — the work that happens at night and on weekends. Do you need a good electrician who knows their way around old wiring? Do you want to get comfortable with power tools or swap tips and tricks with other DIY-types? Do you need some convincing that a historic house is worth the effort? PPS is here to help.

And second, we’re addressing the critical labor shortage in the preservation trades. We train those who’ve never worked in the trades before in the basics and upskill construction industry veterans in the specialized trades needed to maintain and adapt our historic buildings — and then we help them find meaningful work across the state. Keeping these skills in Rhode Island is a win-win. 

Visit our Events page for the latest programs. Some of our signature offerings are…

Rehabbers Resources | programs, community-building, and basic skills training for residents living in and working on old buildings

Window & Workforce Training Program | a paid, hands-on job training program in historic window restoration 

Introduction to the Preservation Trades | two months of paid immersion and training with an employer in the preservation trades

Dozens of residents have already benefited from our initial programs, but in order for Building Works to continue to flourish, we need your help to fully equip our classroom space at 50 Sims Avenue. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for critical workshop equipment. A donation of $25 buys a box of sandpaper; $100, a wood epoxy resin set. Contributions of $250 or more will help us acquire essential carpentry tools like mitre saws and planers. Make a gift today to give our Building Works students the tools for success!

This work is part of a national conversation about the preservation trades. The Campaign for Historic Trades is leading the effort to research, document, and expand the resources and workforce necessary to support hands-on preservation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s HOPE Crew is also a national partner in this effort. 

These initiatives have been generously funded by: the 1772 Foundation, Bank Rhode Island, the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, the Ida Ballou Littlefield Memorial Trust, the Mabel T. Woolley Trust, the Mary Dexter Chafee Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Nordson Corporation Foundation, the Rebecca and Barry Preston Opportunity Fund, the Robert E. Freeman Downcity Fund, the State of Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, the United States Department of Labor, the Wadleigh Family Fund, the Washington Trust Company, and hundreds of individual donors. 

© 2024 Providence Preservation Society. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.