A carpentry program in St. Louis-based Ranken Technical College is helping students learn the home-building industry in hands-on efforts to rebuild their community.

Every year, students in the class build two homes in the surrounding community. The college buys sites with dilapidated homes that need demolishing and the students rebuild single-family homes ranging in 1,500 to 1,800 square feet. The students benefit from the class learning and hands-on building, as well as a sense of pride in rebuilding an area that largely feels forgotten.

This year the program is tackling two ranch-style homes with three-bedrooms, two-bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The homes will be for older residents who have had hard times climbing stairs in a two-story home.

Students have various goals of owning their own home-building business to working alongside contractors to earn a steady paycheck.

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