Buffalo is in the midst of a renaissance and preservationists say a big part of that has to do with the re-use and re-furbishing of the buildings that already exist.
“You look around Buffalo and look at the renaissance that’s happened in the last few years, almost all of it has to do with preservation and actually with taking those vacant buildings and bringing new life into them,” said Jessie Fisher. She’s the executive director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara.
That’s a group that helps people and contractors reuse buildings and preserve them in the most historically accurate way.
The group is going a step further now by offering a course for people to learn how to do this. Organizers say it’s an un-tapped job creator.
“You create about 60% more jobs when you do a preservation project than when you do a new construction project.”
Steve Swiat is the owner of Northwood Restoration, he will teach the 7 week course.
He tells us the biggest problem he has is not being able to find people to hire to take on all of these projects that require expertise in restoration.
“There is such a shortage of trade workers in even modern, new construction but especially working on the old houses, the old structures.”
Fisher said that construction jobs pay well, especially if you have an expertise or additional skill.
“Construction trades really are among the highest paying jobs in western New York and we are growing at almost 5 times the national average in terms of construction jobs.”
The course is $750 for registrants before February 15 and goes up to $775 until the course begins on March 12th. It runs through April 25.
The course is not for beginners, but people who are interested that have minimal experience or are worried about financial accessibility should contact Preservation Buffalo Niagara for assistance. Some scholarships will be available.