Are you interested in exploring a career where you can work with your hands? Or dream about a worksite with a jaw-dropping view and fascinating history?
If so, the Traditional Trades Advancement Program may be right for you!
Every year, the Traditional Trades Advancement Program (TTAP) places aspiring preservationists at national parks across the country to preserve cultural resources and crucial infrastructure. TTAP participants have:
- repaired historic window sashes,
- replaced perimeter capstones on a revolutionary era fort,
- removed old mortar and pointed walls,
- stabilized historic barn foundations,
- waxed and treated bronze monuments,
- restored historic viewsheds, and more!
The program is committed to providing all aspiring preservationists—especially those underrepresented in the trades—with an unique opportunity to work on important real-world projects while building professional experience and a life-long connection to America’s national parks. This also allows experienced NPS preservation professionals the opportunity to pass on the craft skills, ensuring national park histories continue to inspire and educate the next generation.
Over the course of a 26-week immersive experience, TTAP participants train and work alongside experienced NPS employees to preserve cultural resources and crucial infrastructure. Participants learn the fundamentals of historic preservation and receive on-the-job training in a traditional trade, such as masonry, carpentry, monuments, and woodcrafting. You'll gain practical, hands-on experience and the foundation for a career in historic preservation.
In 2021, the TTAP program created the first Indian Youth Service Corps cohort dedicated to connecting Native American youth with historic preservation projects in national parks. For individuals who are passionate about protecting historic and cultural tribal resources, visit: Indian Youth Service Corps
- 1 minute, 31 seconds
Youth and military veterans are invited to join the Traditional Trades Advancement Program of the National Park Service. Learn skills, work in amazing places, and preserve the history that defines us all. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
Who Can Apply
- 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.
- Participants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident.
- No prior experience is required to be eligible to participate in the TTAP Program.
How to Apply
TTAP positions have rolling start dates but typically begin between March and June, with a few positions starting in the later summer or fall.
TTAP positions currently accepting applications will be posted on our partner’s webpage, The Campaign for Historic Trades – Opportunities.
To find a position on this webpage:
- navigate to the Filters menu on the lefthand side,
- under the Tags menu option, select TTAP.
Applicant's Frequently Asked Questions
Several key components set TTAP apart from other internship 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.
By participating in TTAP you will have the opportunity to:
Build marketable job skills
Explore national parks
Contribute to the preservation of our nation’s most treasured sites
Get paid to learn and have fun!
Participants 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 used to protect and preserve national heritage and the diversity of cultures it encompasses.
Participants will find importance in their work and the pride from working hard, and as a contributing member of a team, motivating one another while accomplishing preservation projects and working at some of the most beautiful and meaningful places in the country.
Lastly, participants gain access to a network of subject matter experts, learn about future opportunities, and how to get ready for the next steps.
ContactQuestions? Contact our team at email@example.com
What's it like?Hear from present and former participants in the Traditional Trades Advancement Program (formerly the Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program).
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Hear more about Avery Putnam's experience with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
- 53 seconds
Billy talks about his experience on the TTAP crew at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
- 1 minute, 6 seconds
Hear more about Heather Alexander's experience with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
- 53 seconds
Hear more from Pat about his time on a TTAP crew at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
- 1 minute, 3 seconds
Hear more about Rodney Flora's experience with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
- 1 minute, 20 seconds
Hear more about Victor Velasco's experience with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
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Hear more about Zoe Wilson's experience with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program. Video: NPS / Kristi Rugg
From TTAP to NPSA number of former TTAP participants are now full-time NPS employees! Hear from them how the program changed their lives!
- 2 minutes, 43 seconds
Pat Sutton talks about his experience in the Traditional Trades Advancement Program and how it led to a career with the National Park Service.
- 1 minute, 7 seconds
Heather Alexander first started working in historic preservation as a participant in the Traditional Trades Advancement Program. Since completing TTAP, Heather has joined the NPS full-time. We caught up with her to hear about the experience from her perspective.
Last updated: January 11, 2023