Two years after completing the EVIT Aviation program, Alex Rodriguez is teaching others to fly and looking forward to the day when he can use his flight skills to help countries in need.
“Aviation just fell into my lap,” he said. “But now it's a passion.”
Rodriguez discovered his career passion at the East Valley Institute of Technology, a public Joint Technical Education District (JTED) that offers advanced career training at two centralized Mesa campuses – the Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus and East Campus -- and Apache Junction High School.
High school students who reside in 10 East Valley school districts – Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Higley, J.O. Combs, Queen Creek, Fountain Hills and Apache Junction -- can attend EVIT’s centralized campuses tuition-free. They take their academic courses at their high school and then spend a half-day at EVIT training for careers in culinary arts, health care, welding, firefighting, automotive technologies, cosmetology and more. Tuition-based programs for adults are also offered, with financial aid available for those who qualify.
In 2014, Rodriguez completed the Aviation program at EVIT’s East Campus, 6625 S. Power Road, and graduated from Perry High School in the Chandler Unified School District. He then went on to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, where he earned his private, commercial and certified flight instructor certificates with instrument and multi-engine ratings.
Now this 20-year-old pilot is a certified flight instructor for the University of North Dakota in Arizona, while working toward his bachelor’s degree at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
“My ultimate goal is to fly for an airline and travel the world,” he said. “Flight instructing is the gig most pilots go in to so that they can build the hours required. Plus, we all have the mindset that if you can teach it, then you most likely can do it.”
Rodriguez is grateful to EVIT Aviation instructor Lou Amadee and former instructor Capt. Al Mittelstaedt “for investing in me as a student and giving me the environment to bring all this to fruition.”
Within two years, he hopes to upgrade to flying jets and traveling. Then he plans to use his flight training and skills for a higher purpose.
“I’d like to do some missionary work on the side, maybe flying food or medical supplies to countries in need,” he said. “God has blessed me in ways I couldn’t possibly explain; this career field is just a small part of it. The least I can do is use it to spread some of His love.”
Aviation is one of 40 advanced career training programs offered by EVIT. Most programs are two years, with students starting as high school juniors. Nearly every program prepares students to earn professional licenses or credentials. EVIT also provides funding for East Valley school districts to offer career training in their high schools.
Students at EVIT’s centralized campuses have a 98% high school graduation rate, 2 out of 3 go to college, and 85% are in college, jobs or the military within one year of their EVIT training. Information: www.evit.com
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