A 10-week program in Los Angeles' Valley introduces high school students to fire and police careers with hands-on learning.

The three-year-old program is jointly run by Valley College, the city Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Firefighters and police officers teach many of the classes, giving students a taste of what those jobs really entail.

Any high school student in the area can join, as long as he or she is willing to give up eight Saturdays and commit the time and energy to hands-on training on real equipment. The academies are offered three times a year.

Many of the students who graduate at the end of the 10-week course return each year. Only one previous graduate has gone on to an emergency services job so far, but the program is still new.

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