The skills Danielle Panessa learned at the East Valley Institute of Technology have been the gift that keeps giving. In her last two years at Mesa’s Red Mountain High School, Danielle was also enrolled in the Human Anatomy & Physiology for Medical Careers program and Nursing Assistant program at EVIT. In 2011, she passed her state certified nursing assistant exams and became a CNA at Sunrise Assisted Living. Eight months later, she was promoted to medication care manager. In January, she will start classes in Mesa Community College’s nursing program, working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a surgical nurse.
None of that, she says, would have been possible without the foundation in health care skills that she gained at EVIT.
“I have continually used the skills I learned at EVIT and I loved the time I was able to spend learning there,” Panessa said.
EVIT, a career and technical school for high school students and adults, provides occupational training in nearly 40 different programs. Working closely with hundreds of local business and industry advisors, EVIT not only prepares students for jobs, but for college. In fact, two out of three EVIT students go on to college or other post-secondary training.
“EVIT gives back to our community every day. In the way that we work with business and industry, we feed the economic development engine on the train of education,” said Superintendent Sally Downey. “That is the uniqueness of EVIT.”
EVIT will showcase how it gives back from 9 a.m. to 1 pm., Jan. 24 during the EVIT Gives Back Expo at the Dr. A. Keith Crandall (Main) Campus, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa. Not only will visitors get to explore EVIT programs, but also participate in a number of free or low-cost activities such as blood pressure screenings, manicures, chair massages, and a robotics competition. Trolleys from Scottsdale’s Ollie the Trolley will give campus tours, Bistro 13 and The Pulse Radio’s new recording studios will host grand opening festivities, and live entertainment will also be featured. Admission to the EVIT Gives Back Expo is free, but some events may have a minimal fee; proceeds will be given to Mesa United Way.
While the Expo gives EVIT the opportunity to provide the community with information, free services and family fun, the school “gives back” all year long by training the community’s future workforce. For instance, EVIT’s automotive program places more students in jobs than any other high school automotive program in the nation, Downey said. And, the school’s welding program has a 100 percent success rate in placing students in jobs, college or the military.
Most EVIT programs prepare students to test for professional credentials. For example, each year well over 90 percent of cosmetology students pass state exams to earn their license from the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology. Other examples of credentials EVIT students can test for: national certification as a Junior Culinarian, the national Child Development Associate Credential, American Welding Society certification, state and national certifications as emergency medical technicians, pharmacy technician certification, and much more.
A growing number of EVIT programs also provide students with the opportunity to earn dual enrollment college credit: 3D Animation, Early Childhood Education, Fashion, Interiors & Textiles, Information Technology & Engineering Careers, Multimedia Technologies, Radio/Audio Production, Video Production, Culinary Arts & Commercial Baking, Automotive Technologies, Aviation, Law Enforcement and Precision Machining Technologies.
But skills, certifications and college credit aren’t the only ways EVIT gives back to students.
Queen Creek High School alumna Holli Lukens completed EVIT’s fashion program in 2010. But she maintains that what she gained from that experience went far beyond sewing skills.
“I learned about life,” she said. “EVIT helped me face the world with confidence.”