Our History

Our History

The Construction of TRADART

Founded in the year 2000, in Santa Barbara, by Leslie Meadowcroft-Schipper, TRADART Foundation’s board members began working to salvage and maintain the remains of a once thriving woodshop program, which was part of the Industrial Arts program in the Santa Barbara School District back in the 1970’s. TRADART’s founding members firmly believed that students deserved the opportunity for an alternative to the academic-centric choices being offered.

Building a Stable Program

By 2005, Don Gordon, Vice President of Tradart, launched the Tools for Schools program and over the next several years, it worked single handedly with its partners from industry, stabilizing the presence of woodshop and construction tech classes in all six Santa Barbara Unified School District schools. 

Had it not been for TRADART and its partners, who equipped each shop with new machines, new tools, and materials such as lumber, there would be no Construction technology shop classes at either Santa Barbara Junior and Senior High School; nor at La Cumbre Junior High School; nor at San Marcos High School.

Our flagship program continued growing and, in 2011, once Career Technical Education grants came through the state, TRADART was in place as a partner for the K-14 CTE Pathway Education.

Gaining Momentum

By the year 2015, due to TRADART Foundation’s enterprising efforts, the livelihood of the Construction Technology Woodshop classes was secured and better financed by the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

The TRADART Foundation received a segment of the Career Technical Education Grant from SBUSD to develop the inaugural standardized Construction Technology Skills Passport. Presently, this Skills Passport is mandatory across all Career Technical Education programs within the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Also in 2015, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gifted TRADART Foundation $50,000 so that the woodshop teachers could teach a real-life curriculum and build Tiny Houses as a two-year program.

Today and Our Vision for the Future

Today, there are six thriving Construction Technology Woodshop classes taught in Santa Barbara junior and high schools by six outstanding teachers. The students receive dual-enrollment credit from Santa Barbara City College.

TRADART Foundation is a choice partner with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, offering speakers in the classroom, volunteers, resume training, and Construction Technology Woodshop classes to more than 200 students each semester.

Much more work awaits us to achieve our ultimate goal of re-establishing learning the trades as a noble choice in the K-12 pathway and opening a construction academy.

TRADART Foundation is a choice partner with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, Partners in education, and the Santa Barbara Contractors Association. Together they provide guest speaker opportunities in the classroom, volunteers, resume training and technical instruction to the more than 1,000 students enrolled in the Building and Construction Career Technical Education Pathway (CTE) each year.

TRADART Foundation