Woodshop on Wheels aims to stimulate interest in carpentry in DC

There is a huge demand for carpenters these days, and a new program in DC is training young people in the trade in a unique way.

There is a huge demand for carpenters these days, and a new program in DC is training young people in the trade in a unique way.

He uses a truck that has been converted into a carpentry classroom – the first of its kind in the DC area.

The truck is the longtime dream of Margery Goldberg, founder and owner of the Zenith Gallery in DC, and an artist who enjoys working with wood.

“Finished carpentry is the most endangered trade in the country, even now. But they say in the next two years 40% of the workforce will retire, ”Goldberg said at an event Thursday to celebrate the new truck.

It was a tape cut, but instead of the traditional tape Goldberg appropriately cut a piece of wood.

The 20-foot-long truck is stocked with hand and power tools, lumber, other supplies, and a generator. One side is equipped with innovative convertible workspaces. For example, a large circular saw can be turned upside down and stored under a cabinet, freeing up more space for other projects.

The Woodshop on Wheels is 20 feet long.

OMCP / Michelle Basch

Inside, wood and other supplies are stored on the walls, including a saw that can be turned over to create more workspace.

OMCP / Michelle Basch

On the opposite wall, more space for tools and supplies, as well as a handy generator for electricity. The rear of the truck also includes an electric tailgate.

OMCP / Michelle Basch

The Carpentry Classroom is considered the first of its kind in the DC area.

OMCP / Michelle Basch

The program, called Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry Training (PACT), is the first to be introduced by the Zenith Community Arts Foundation, founded by Goldberg. PACT was launched in September at the Ballou STAY Opportunity Academy in Southeast DC for students aged 18-24.

It was developed in partnership with the DC Carpenters Union. Once students complete the course, they can become paid union apprentices or work in other trades.

“We have students who come in with absolutely zero experience in anything,” said Austin Travis, one of the teachers at PACT. “We start by teaching them to make marks on the wood, so that they can draw straight lines. So, they can use tools to draw better straight lines. So they can make marks with sixty-fourth of an inch fineness consistently, every time, and then how to cut perfectly, every time.

Funding for the truck comes largely from a grant from Events DC. More money came from the DC Commission for the Arts and private sponsors, including real estate developer Sam Rose.

Other programs are coming soon. More information is available on the foundation’s website.

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