This school year marks the 30th anniversary of Arizona’s first and oldest Career Technical Education District — the East Valley Institute of Technology.
What started out as one campus with about 700 high school students has grown to two central campuses and a branch campus serving nearly 5,000 high school and adult students in the East Valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The EVIT CTED also funds satellite CTE programs in 11 East Valley school districts.
“For 30 years, EVIT has been changing the lives of students by providing career training that leads to employment after high school or gives students a jump-start on their college education,” said Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson. “We plan to continue that tradition for the next 30 years while also expanding opportunities for adults and foster care youth.”
This year, EVIT started a new customized GED program for youth in foster care to not only obtain their GED or High School Equivalency Diploma, but to also begin their journey in a career field. The Foster Youth Career Program assists students who are credit-deficient in obtaining their GED or HSED while pursuing a certification in an EVIT program. Students work on their online GED prep classes in a lab at the EVIT Main Campus, where an in-person instructor can assist them. The cost of EVIT career training courses are included in the $100 program fee, and financial assistance is available.
“At EVIT, we believe it is our mission and calling to change lives by loving our students and serving our community,” Dr. Wilson said. “The foster care program is a perfect example of that.”
EVIT also offers several ways for adult students to receive high-quality career training. Adults are welcome to enroll in high school programs when space is available. They pay tuition, but EVIT works with those who need assistance in creating affordable payment plans. EVIT also serves many students who return after graduating from high school to complete their program through Arizona’s CTED Completer Grant program, which pays their adult tuition. And, EVIT currently offers a dozen post-secondary programs at the Main Campus, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa, for adults who want to upgrade their skills, earn new certifications or start new careers in the beauty industry, health care or industrial trades. Financial aid is available in most of the post-secondary programs for those who qualify.
EVIT is currently renovating and expanding its Power Campus, 6625 S. Power Road in Mesa, to accommodate growth in the southeast Valley. The new aviation building, including a plane hangar, should be completed by January, and the veterinary sciences and engineering expansion by next August. Renovations for the health sciences and cosmetology should also be finished by next August, and the third building expansion at Power is expected to begin in the 2022-23 school year, with renovations at the Main Campus scheduled to begin by the end of 2022-23.
Throughout this 30th anniversary school year, EVIT will be sharing stories of successful alumni whose lives were changed by their decision to attend EVIT — alumni like Joey Liberatore, who completed the EVIT radio/audio production program in 2016. A talented athlete, Liberatore’s dream was to become a professional baseball player. But when an injury made that impossible, he discovered he could still pursue his passion for baseball through broadcasting. His training and experience in EVIT’s radio program, including the student-operated radio station 88.7FM The Pulse, led to jobs with the Chicago Cubs spring training facility and minor league teams. Liberatore followed that up with a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and an internship with the Arizona Diamondbacks before moving to his current job as the broadcasting and media content coordinator for the Oakland A’s.
“EVIT will allow you to create your own story at such a young age. Whether you’re unsure of your future career goals or you’re certain of what you’d like to do, EVIT can provide the tools to assist you on your journey for success prior to or while in college,” he said. “EVIT was an absolute game-changer for me.”
EVIT has been recognized by Time Magazine as “the school that works,” featured often in the national career and technical education magazine Techniques, and voted numerous times by readers of the East Valley Tribune as best public school.
EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, two out of three go on to college, and 94% are in jobs related to their training, college or the military within a year of completing their training. In surveys earlier this year, 99% of EVIT parents said they would recommend EVIT to other families and 97% of students said they would recommend EVIT to a friend.
For more information, visit evit.com.
Editor’s note: CeCe Todd is the public information officer for the East Valley Institute of Technology.
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