Media contact: CeCe Todd, (480) 461-4032
When EVIT instructors teach students the skills they need for a career, they are speaking from their own experience in that industry – an invaluable expertise that contributes to nearly 87 percent of students being in college or jobs in their field of study within a year of completing training at the East Valley Institute of Technology.
“It’s easier to learn from somebody who’s done it than from someone who’s read about it in a book,” says Steve Grosz, who worked for four different radio stations, the Phoenix Suns, and his own DJ company before signing on to teach EVIT’s Radio/Audio Production program and manage its radio station, The Pulse 88.7FM.
Nearly all instructors at EVIT, a career and technical school for high school students and adults, have worked in the industry they are training students to work in. Together with advisors from industry, EVIT teachers design curriculum and instruction that prepares students to test for professional credentials, such as a state Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license from the Arizona Board of Nursing or certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
“Those third-party industry credentials are so important because they make our students employable anywhere,” said Superintendent Sally Downey.
Many EVIT programs have exceptional success rates in preparing students to earn their credentials. For instance, the EVIT Academy of Cosmetic Arts has annual pass rates of well over 90 percent on the Arizona Board of Cosmetology exams, and currently has a 100 percent pass rate on the practical exam. Having taken those exams themselves and worked in the industry, the cosmetology teachers are able to give their students expert instruction and guidance.
EVIT students often say that they love learning from teachers who share their passion for that field. Kirsten Carnevale, a 2014 EVIT alumna now attending Robert Morris University, credits her EVIT Dental Assistant teacher, Janet Jensen, with helping her secure a dental internship that ultimately led to her getting a $44,000 scholarship. Jensen, she said, helped her “learn the material and physically be in that environment. Then I knew the career path I chose was the right one for me.”
Eric Perez worked as a multimedia manager and art director before he became a teacher. In his EVIT Multimedia and Graphic/Web Design classes, he not only teaches students the practical skills, but also emphasizes the communication skills, attention to detail, and deadline discipline he knows from his own experience that they will need to succeed.
Like EVIT’s other instructors, Perez forms a close bond with his students, who often don’t want to leave when their training is complete. “Sometimes, I have to nudge them out of the nest,” he said. But when he does, they are ready to fly: Perez has a 97 percent success rate in placing his students in jobs, college or the military.
“I love being here,” he said of being a teacher at EVIT. “I would sweat and bleed for this place. I believe in this.”
EVIT provides tuition-free career training to high school students who reside in Mesa, Scottsdale, Apache Junction, Fountain Hills, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Higley, Queen Creek and J.O. Combs districts. Tuition-based programs for adults are also offered with financial assistance available to those who qualify.