- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - For the second time this month, students involved in SkillsUSA at Fremont High School spent a portion of their afterschool hours building ramps for disabled people in collaboration with nonprofit organization Rebuilding Together.

Keith Cunnings, industrial technology instructor and Rebuilding Together board member, said the 14 students - and fellow industrial technology instructor Brad Ryun - have been looking for more ways to get involved in the Fremont community.

“For six or seven months now, we have been working on getting this project up and running,” Cunnings said. “We initially started looking for community service projects - just looking for things we could do to help out the community, and this really fits into what we want to accomplish. The kids get to use their hands and really show their job skills and knowledge.”

Recently, SkillsUSA team members measured, sawed and constructed modules that can be formed into a full ramp that can be attached to the home of somebody who needs one.

Sometimes a ramp is the only way someone can continue living in his or her own home.

Throughout the year, students will continue building ramp modules so when a need arises, it can be fulfilled, Ryun said.

“We are going to keep building modules and stacking them up,” Ryun said. “We do this so that when somebody’s house comes up and they say, ‘Hey, we have a bum leg and we need a wheelchair,’ boom, we can get out there right away and install it for them.”

Generally, five modules can form a complete ramp for a home, Cunnings said.

While SkillsUSA is designed to build real-world job skills that enable students to immediately make an impact in the trades job market, one of the biggest factors involves service in the community.

“One of the biggest components of SkillsUSA is community service and involvement,” Cunnings told the Fremont Tribune (https://bit.ly/1SvA1Or ). “It adds something to it other than just volunteering and helping out at the Home Show, because that is what we have been doing. This is something great that we can do to gain more community service hours and do something positive for the Fremont community.”

Members of SkillsUSA will host a booth at this year’s Home and Builders show at Christensen Field Main Arena.

People stopping by the stand can learn about the Welding Academy and other projects that Fremont’s students are working on.

While Fremont students have participated in SkillsUSA for the past six years, Cunnings said, community support has played a huge role in helping it become as big as it has become.

“The community support is what’s really getting us there,” Cunnings said. “So many people have played a role in making us what we are today.”

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Information from: Fremont Tribune, https://www.fremontneb.com

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