April 25, 2014
The diesel program is one of more than 30 occupational
training programs currently enrolling at EVIT. Pictured here: (left)
Cooper Sparr, who graduated from Arcadia High School and completed
EVIT's diesel program last year, and Rhane Echeverria, 18, a senior from
Corona del Sol High School who is currently enrolled in the program.
Media contact: CeCe Todd, (480) 461-4032
Engines don’t intimidate the young women enrolled in the
transportation programs at the East Valley Institute of Technology. Nor
do the men who dominate those classrooms and industries.
“There’s only a few girls here, but we’re not discriminated (against)
in any way. We’re given the same treatment as everyone else,” said EVIT
aviation student Courtney Poulin, 16, a junior from Combs High School.
Poulin wants to be an aircraft technician. “It’s pretty cool being able
to see some of the things that women didn’t used to be able to see and
Like the industries they feed into, EVIT’s transportation technology
programs – automotive, aviation, collision repair and diesel – are
dominated by males. EVIT is trying to change that by emphasizing that
girls, too, belong in these programs and industries.
The transportation classes are among more than 30 occupational
training programs currently enrolling at the Dr. A. Keith Crandell
(Main) Campus, 1601 W. Main St., and the East Campus, 6625 S. Power
Road. Aviation is offered at the East Campus, and automotive, collision
repair and diesel programs are at Main.
EVIT’s programs are tuition-free for high school students – district,
charter or home-schooled – who reside in Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe,
Chandler, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Higley, Queen Creek
or J.O. Combs school districts. Tuition-based programs for adults are
also enrolling, with financial aid available.
Jazmin Gonzalez, 17, a senior from Tempe High School, is enrolled in
EVIT’s collision repair program – and she loves it. “We have an awesome
teacher,” she said of instructor Hollywood Leary, “and we’re not just
stuck in a book.”
Gonzalez’s father has worked in mechanics and her brother does body
work. But when she told her parents that she was enrolling in collision
repair, Mom’s response was: “Why are you going to do that? You’re a
Gonzalez, who has grown up around guys and cars, said she likes
collision repair, especially the business part of it in which you meet
new customers every day. She also enjoys the creativity involved in
collision repair, such as mixing paints to achieve just the right color.
After she completes her EVIT program, Gonzalez plans to attend Mesa
Community College or South Mountain Community College to study business.
She would like to own and operate her own body shop someday.
And her teacher thinks she has what it takes to do just that.
Collision repair is more than body work and painting; it’s also
business, Leary said. He added that there are at least 60 different
occupations that can benefit from collision repair training – such as
insurance adjusters or tech and sales reps.
“You need to know how to write an estimate and read an estimate,” he said.
Male or female, all students can benefit from EVIT’s automotive
program, according to Mike McAfee of the Arizona Automobile Dealers
Association. “The East Valley Institute of Technology has one of the
premier automotive programs in the nation.”
In Arizona, EVIT was the first school to obtain NATEF (National
Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) certification. And it has
maintained that certification for 14 years, McAfee said.
“You have to have accreditation and certification,” he said. “That tells our employers that you’re teaching the right stuff.”
Consequently, EVIT is one of the top high schools in the nation for
placing automotive students in jobs. And there is no other school in
Arizona that comes close, McAfee said, adding that other high schools
might produce six or seven automotive interns each year while EVIT
produces 40. “It’s huge what this school does for our industry,” he
EVIT also has the only NATEF-certified collision repair program in Arizona.
Female employees are much needed in automotive and collision repair,
McAfee said, especially since 50 percent of the industry’s customers are
female. “We look to public education. That really is our pipeline.”
And for any young women who think their place isn’t in the garage,
automotive instructor Randy Golding points out that in some ways, they
can do a better job in engine diagnostics than men can. “Women think
differently than men. They hear things that men don’t,” he said. “Women
are very intuitive to things as a technician that men are not.”
EVIT’s automotive and aviation programs also offer dual enrollment
college credit. Two out of three EVIT students go on to college.
To register for the 2014-15 school year, visit www.evit.com and see
your high school counselor. For more information, contact enrollment
director Melissa Valenzuela at (480) 461-4153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.