New Orleans Master Crafts Guild

The Pitch

The New Orleans Master Crafts Guild (the Guild) seeks to revive the building trade traditions of New Orleans families and provide apprenticeship training for new generations of Master Craftsmen through cooperative business practices.

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New Orleans Master Crafts Guild
Jonn Hankins

Jonn Hankins

The Entrepreneur

Jonn Ethan Hankins is a co-founder of the New Orleans Master Crafts Guild, having previously held the positions of Executive Director of the New Orleans African American Museum, Development Director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Foundation, Chief Operating Officer of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and Principal Development Officer for Corporate and Community Affairs at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Hankins has been an advocate for the revival of the traditional building trades for over a decade since he directed “Raised to the Trade: Creole Building Arts of New Orleans” at NOMA, an award winning exhibition and oral history research project about the family legacies of the master craftsmen who built and maintain the built environment of New Orleans. He holds a BA in Journalism/Advertising and a Masters of Business Administration.

The Opportunity/Challenge

By 2020, the demand for skilled building trades craftsmen—in masonry, plaster, carpentry, and ironwork—is expected to increase by 14%, yet vocational training programs in New Orleans are in decline. The Guild provides training with some of the best craftsmen in the area to fill this gap.

The Impact

  • Trained 12 apprentices in the traditional building trades of ironwork (welding & blacksmithing) and plastering.
  • Received a $15,000 grant in collaboration with Goodwill Industries
  • Open its its soon-to-be incubation center in the 7th Ward Community Center on the site of the former Corpus Christi School.


2012-2013 Ventures





Press Coverage

News Posts

“The high quality of technical assistance provided by Propeller staff and pro bono consultants launched The Guild on new trajectory that made our incorporation, business planning, and networking occur at a much higher level than would have been possible with our resources alone.”

John Hankins
Founder, New Orleans Master Crafts Guild ('13)