These days, young people entering the workforce generally seem to gravitate towards technology driven jobs, as opposed to careers in the trades.
Although this seems to be the case abroad as well, I am happy to report that teaching traditional craftsmanship is alive and well at the Brenzoni Scuola del Marmo (school of marble) among the vast vinyards of Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella in northern Italy.
As part of the International Stone Fabricators Alliance, we are spearheading an exchange student program which will allow students to visit various stone fabrication facilities here in America, to see the differences in our industries and our way of life.
Upon visiting the school, we were shown a curriculum of stone work, it’s place in history, restoration techniques, sculpture and even CAD/CAM machining courses available to the students. To help jumpstart the program, the SFA made a healthy donation to the school, in a ceremony presided over by Sant’Ambrogio’s mayor. In return, we were given a commemorative plaque, sculpted by one of the students. The kids were quite intrigued with fellow director Dan Riccolo’s substantial beard.
The first students are scheduled to arrive on American soil this August, visiting fabrication shops in Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio. In addition to the stone related agendas each shop will provide, the hosts are also putting together truly American experiences for them like attending Major league baseball games and observations from Chicago’s skyscrapers. Unfortunately, even Chicago’s legendary pizza will surely disappoint the kids. They’re Italian, after all.