Info sessions this week for heritage trades program

Attendees learn how to fix historic windows at the Belvedere School for Hands-On Preservation in Hannibal, Mo., run by preservationist Bob Yapp. Yapp has been working as a consultant to help the City of Covington start its restoration trades program. (Photo used courtesy of Bob Yapp.)

Introductory workshops start next month for ‘trowel’ and ‘wood’ careers

COVINGTON, Ky. – Want a career in restoring historic houses?

Two information sessions will be held this week to give details about the introductory workshops beginning in March at the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades, a new workforce development effort that seeks to teach the so-called “lost trades” related to working on old homes.

Each session will last about an hour and will answer questions related to cost, curriculum, applying, schedule, agenda, and expectations. One session is at 6 p.m. Thursday and one at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Both will be held at the new Enzweiler Building Institute school at 3923 Winston Ave. in the Latonia Commerce Center.

Before attending, send an RSVP to Vicki Berling at

Berling, who is Director of Professional Development at Enzweiler, encouraged anybody interested in a career in the restoration trades to attend one of the sessions, even if they’re not sure about the schedules and cost.

“Come in and get the details before you make any decisions,” Berling said. “Too many people talk themselves out of something before they even know the facts.”

As outlined in a Nov. 10, 2022, release from the City of Covington, "Restoration trades school coming soon," the City hired the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky to oversee the new school. Classroom instruction will take place at the institute, with in-the-field, hands-on work at the former Colonial Inn motel owned  by the City at 1515 Madison Ave.

The goal of the heritage trades program – at least initially -- is to train people for new careers, not teach homeowners new skills to help them fix up their own houses, Berling said.

A good fit?

Toward that end, weekend introductory workshops will be held in March and April to help people decide whether such a career would be a good fit, learn about physical demands of such a career, and talk to would-be employers about available jobs. Those introductory workshops will be:

  • March 10-12, for “trowel” careers, including historic masonry, plaster, and concrete.
  • April 14-16, for “wood” careers, including carpentry, floors, wood-framed windows, and detailed wood trim. 

May, June classes

Following the introductory weekends, the Academy will begin classes in May and June for Historic Masonry Tuck Pointing and Historic Wood Window Restoration and Weatherization. Again, these classes are part of the occupational track of the academy and will not be open to the general public.

City officials said the Academy will be a boon for both Covington’s fantastic buildings and its families.

“One of Covington’s best features are our historic buildings, with their wonderful architecture and exquisite features,” said Kaitlin Bryan, the City’s Historic Preservation Officer. “Unfortunately, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find workers with the skills needed to restore and maintain these buildings in a way that preserves their historic looks. We helped create the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades to help revive those dying crafts while also providing our families the opportunity for sustainable, good-paying careers.”

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