PITTSBURG — What does it take to be a firefighter?
Local and area high school students got a glimpse of what that might be like.
Pittsburg Fire Department hosted a tour for local and area high school students so they can learn about a dual credit opportunity in Fire Science.
In partnership with Coffeyville Community College and the Pittsburg Fire Department, students may have the opportunity in the fall to take a dual-credit Fire Science course taught by firefighters at PFD. 
The college and Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville already have a similar program running.
Marlon Thornburg, Coffeyville Community College vice president of Innovation and Business Initiatives —  who also oversees the Fire Science program at the college — said the program was created in Coffeyville to encourage students to consider being in Fire Science because there was a shortage of volunteer and career firefighters.
At the same time, the Coffeyville School District was looking for new career pathways for its students, Thornburg said.
It was Lori Carselowey, Greenbush Education Service Center consultant for career and technical education, who called the college after finding out about the dual-credit program.
She was looking for professional development for teachers and found out about the program. In September, she met with Pittsburg Fire Chief Mike Simons and firefighters. They shared the need for more firefighters and their willingness to teach students who are interested in the field.
“‘We wish we could just teach the students and class,’” Carselowey said the PFD said. “Based on that conversation in September is where we are today.”
“I was so impressed that this whole day started with one idea, one conversation. It’s just beautiful to see it come to fruition.”  
Carselowey said there is a shortage of firefighters in Kansas and the program is one way to help fill that gap in rural cities as well as larger cities.
After speaking with the fire department, area high school counselors and principals they created a date for the open house on Thursday at the Pittsburg Fire Department.
Frontenac High School Counselor Jennifer Niederklein brought a few students from her school. She said her district has been working on different pathways students can take for their individual plan study — which could include goals of receiving certificates in certain fields, an interest in a particular job or going to college.
“This would be a great opportunity for our students,” she said.
Some students from FHS already volunteer at Frontenac Fire Department.
Simons said he’s confident in the program. If there is enough interest and everything is approved by the city the class should become available in the fall.
“This is a good way to increase the awareness for the high school-aged students about fire service and what options that are out there,” Simons said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.