The National Park Foundation is making an investment in San Antonio's young people. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage month, the NPF is bestowing $75,000 to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to create a series of apprenticeship opportunities for local youth.
The funding is earmarked to create four apprentice positions for local Latinx young adults. The program is designed to teach "a variety of job skills," notes a press release, particularly in the area of cultural landscaping preservation and maintenance.
Apprentices will gain first-hand experience while protecting San Antonio's storied Missions — named Texas' first World Heritage Site by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture — as well historic acequias, or irrigation canals. Positions are paid, though benefits and compensation vary depending on the role.
But more than just architectural preservation, the Missions provide space to examine how Native Americans were impacted by Spanish colonialism, and how that intersection has come to define so much of San Antonio's culture.
“Hispanic youth will have the opportunity to participate in the preservation, understanding, and commemoration of Hispanic and indigenous contributions to the development and history of the United States,” said Aaron Mahr Yáñez, acting superintendent at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, in a news release. “They’ll learn valuable skills in landscape preservation and maintenance, and hopefully be inspired to consider careers in the National Park Service.”
NPF, which serves as the charity arm of the National Park Service, says its local investment is part of a nationwide push to honor Hispanic and Latinx culture, a sentiment echoed by Rosebud Coffey, executive director of Mission Heritage Partners.
"The funding of this program will open new doors for the Hispanic and Latino youth in our community," Coffey said.
According to a release, the Missions apprenticeship begins December 1 and runs through May 14, 2021, with plans to extend the program indefinitely. Interested parties can learn more and submit an application here.