TTAP provides hands-on, historic preservation trade skills training during an intensive five-month learning-while-working experience. TTAP allows the important work of preserving the cultural resources and crucial infrastructure of national park sites to be passed onto the next generation in a time when many employment fields are becoming obsolete through mechanization. Traditional trades in their modern form require much of the same materials, tools, ingenuity, skills, and hard work that have been required for generations and can never be replaced.
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Youth and military veterans are invited to join the Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program of the National Park Service. Learn skills, work in amazing places, and preserve the history that defines us all. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
How to ApplyAre you interested in joining TTAP? Awesome! We currently have open positions in:
- Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
- Fort Larned National Historic Site
- Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
- George Washington Birthplace National Monument & Thomas Stone National Historic Site
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
- Springfield Armory National Historic Site: There are two open positions. Announcement 1 and Announcement 2
- Voyageurs National Park
What are the crews?
Become a member of a small team, lead by a NPS preservation specialist, working to preserve historic buildings and features!
At the beginning of the program you will complete an intensive two-week basic training in historic preservation fundamentals and introductory craft construction skills. Afterwards, you’ll put those skills to work using tools and materials common in the preservation of older buildings and structures.
Work may be inside or outside, in all kinds of weather, and may involve working on scaffolding. At the end of the day you’ll walk away with the satisfaction of making a lasting impact, with highly-marketable job skills, and a great opportunity to network and build your career.
Where have crews worked lately?The TTAP crews worked on projects at the following locations:
- Fort Pulaski National Monument, Savannah, GA
- Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland
- Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, Flatrock, North Carolina
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Bushkill, Pennsylvania
- Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Stonewall, Texas
- Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi
- Grand Portage National Monument, Grand Portage, Minnesota
- Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Middletown, Virginia
Eligibility RequirementsBecause this program is offered through partner agreements that are a part of the the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps there are specific age requirements for these positions. Learn more about 21CSC requirements. Youth must be between 18 and 30 years of age. Veterans must be between 18 and 35 years of age, and possess a DD214 with a discharge status of Honorable or General under Honorable Conditions.
- No prior experience required
- Five-month commitment
- Requires at least two weeks of traveling for training
- You will be getting dirty and working hard, in both indoor and outdoor environments. Somedays the work will be physically demanding.
- Requires a full commitment to meet all program requirements
What are the benefits of TTAP?By participating in TTAP you will:
- Build marketable job skills
- Receive a National Center for Construction Education and Research graduation certificate
- Have time to explore national parks
- Feel satisfaction, because you’ve made a difference
- Have paid experience and a lot of fun.
Applicant's Frequently Asked Questions
The Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program (TTAP) provides avenues for diverse young adults and veterans to learn from experts, developing trade skills and knowledge to enter the workforce, while preserving traditional trades and addressing critical maintenance projects within our National Parks.
TTAP is a 20-week program in which a participant is placed at a National Park site. During this hands-on, in-the-field opportunity, the National Park Service staff mentor provides supervision and craft skills guidance. Work tasks are dependent on the resources at the site. Example projects include masonry, carpentry, historic trail work, roofing, monument restoration and maintenance, etc.
Several key components set TTAP apart from other corps-type programs offered to veterans and young adults. First, there is a combined need to train the next generation of skilled maintenance workers on public lands and provide invaluable skills to a generation that is not always satisfied with a traditional four-year education. It is estimated that 40% of the maintenance workforce in the National Park Service are eligible to retire in the next five years. Following the successful completion of the program, participants receive Public Land Corps (PLC) hiring authority enabling them to pursue positions in federal agencies. Skills gained also translate into private sector positions in construction trades, design, and engineering.
Second, the length of the program is significantly longer than most other programs – at least 20 weeks! Learning hands-on skills takes time; weeks, months, and even decades. The elongated terms allows for more time for experience, more exposure to more tools/trades/materials, and more time to develop a sense of place and meaning within work in the NPS.
The goal of this program is to reach people that are interested in pursuing a career in the trades in the private or public sector. There are no expectations that a participant will have any background in the trades, but there is an expectation that the individual will bring with them enthusiasm and commitment to work both indoors and outdoors on projects that can be physically demanding and dirty. Some of our best participants came right out of high school; but we've had graduates in historic preservation and a licensed contractor apply because they were looking for ways to develop different trade skills and competencies.
In order to align with national initiatives, such as the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, Young Adults must be between 18 and 30 years of age. Veterans qualify up to the age of 35 years of age and must possess a DD214 with a discharge status of Honorable or General under Honorable Conditions. The program is very interested in recruiting from within communities surrounding host park sites.
You will understand the interrelatedness of the National Park Service Mission and Historic Preservation and their connection to traditional trades. You will gain valuable trade skills and experiences that you will use to protect and preserve our national heritage and diversity of cultures.
You will find importance of your work and the pride you feel working hard, and as contributing member of a team, motivating one another while accomplishing preservation projects and working at some of the most beautiful places in the country.
You'll gain access to a network of subject matter experts, learn about future opportunities, and how to set yourself up for the next steps. And you'll walk away with certifications to prove it!
Participants will have had ample opportunity to network, learn new skills and explore potential jobs during their term of service. All of these factors make participants more likely to get hired.
What's it like?Hear from present and former participants in the Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program.
Last updated: April 12, 2021