Ap­pren­tices re­store the Fort Lauderdale His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety’s New River Inn

South Florida Times - - METRO - Staff Re­port For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Scott Straw­bridge at 954-525-6444 / SS­traw­bridge@hacfl.com or visit www.hacfl.com.

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A unique part­ner­ship is af­ford­ing ap­pren­tices to gain valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence while also restor­ing a his­tor­i­cal com­mu­nity build­ing. Fort Lauderdale His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety (FLHS) has part­nered with the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s (HACFL) StepUP Ap­pren­tice­ship Pro­gram to re­store the New River Inn, lo­cated at 219 2nd Av­enue, Fort Lauderdale. This part­ner­ship will al­low ap­pren­tices to en­hance their con­struc­tion skills on his­tor­i­cal restora­tion, as well as ex­pand their pro­fes­sional port­fo­lio.

“Our StepUP ap­pren­tices are kids that grew up with­out skills to get a mean­ing­ful job – through StepUP we’ve given them the op­por­tu­nity to learn skills to be­come gain­fully em­ployed,” said Tam English, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity of the City of Fort Lauderdale. “The His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has a lot of won­der­ful his­tor­i­cal build­ings that need to be pre­served and this is a great op­por­tu­nity for our ap­pren­tices to re­pair and main­tain these struc­tures while show­ing off the skills they’ve gained in this pro­gram.”

Restora­tion of the New River Inn, which will be used as an ed­u­ca­tional cen­ter, will in­clude new floor­ing, re­in­force­ment of all floor joists, and new dry­wall. StepUp par­tic­i­pants per­form­ing the restora­tion will in­clude one su­per­vi­sor and up to four ap­pren­tices.

“Part­ner­ing with the StepUP pro­gram al­lows us to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to ap­pren­tices who are build­ing a new ca­reer in con­struc­tion ser­vices. This part­ner­ship of­fers a unique ex­pe­ri­ence that they would not have work­ing on mod­ern build­ings,” said Pa­tri­cia Zeiler, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Fort Lauderdale His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety. “Learn­ing this sys­tem will open doors for them to re­store other his­tor­i­cal build­ings, which is the heart of our mis­sion – to cost ef­fec­tively pre­serve struc­tures rather than de­mol­ish and re­build new ones.”

The StepUP ap­pren­tices will per­form ad­di­tional restora­tion work, in­clud­ing build­ing win­dows, paint­ing, ba­sic plumb­ing, and gen­eral build­ing main­te­nance on six FLHS build­ings.

The StepUP Ap­pren­tice­ship Pro­gram is a state cer­ti­fied pro­gram cre­ated by the HACFL in 1994 to pro­vide ap­pren­tices with the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a port­fo­lio of ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing, and em­ploy­ment skills to in­crease their po­ten­tial for per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment and eco­nomic self­suf­fi­ciency. Dur­ing the pro­gram, ap­pren­tices are trained in con­struc­tion skills with a spe­cialty in hous­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and build­ing main­te­nance for oc­cu­pa­tions in the public and pri­vate sec­tors.

All ap­pren­tices are re­quired to ob­tain their GED while in the pro­gram. The pro­gram trains low-in­come public hous­ing res­i­dents and at-risk youth, and has suc­ceeded in help­ing hun­dreds of Fort Lauderdale neigh­bors find path­ways out of poverty, while im­prov­ing the public realm in the City.

“This is a unique op­por­tu­nity for these men and women to hone their skills as they learn about the ear­lier stages of de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion in our City. With this work, the StepUP story is now wo­ven into the his­toric fab­ric of Old Fort Lauderdale,” ex­pressed Scott Straw­bridge, direc­tor of De­vel­op­ment and Fa­cil­i­ties of the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity of the City of Fort Lauderdale. “When our ap­pren­tices im­prove prop­er­ties, they in­vari­ably ex­pe­ri­ence a sense of pride and sense of place. We think this work can ben­e­fit our cities in the fu­ture.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF FLY­ING AND TRAVEL

HIS­TOR­I­CAL PART­NER­SHIP: The Fort Lauderdale His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the city’s Hous­ing Author­ity to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for ap­pren­tices to gain ex­pe­ri­ence.

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