Four years ago, Mesa teenager Chloe Poturalski excelled in the interior design program at the East Valley Institute of Technology while finishing her last year at Dobson High School. Today, Poturalski, 21, lives in Hermosa Beach, CA, while working as a senior designer for the national design firm, Homepolish, Inc.
“I love it so much,” she said. “I don’t consider my job work. It’s fun all the time.”
Homepolish hired Poturalski after she earned an associate degree in interior design from FIDM, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. FIDM is considered one of the best design schools in the nation. But when Poturalski started at FIDM, the school’s faculty quickly discovered that she was far ahead of their other first-year students.
“Because I had learned so much at EVIT within hand drafting and design theory, I was pulled out of those same classes at FIDM and put into the next level up,” she said. “Toward the end of my time at FIDM, I was given the option to take classes that not all students typically have room for in their schedule.”
The class that gave Poturalski such a strong foundation – Fashion, Interiors & Textiles – is one of 40 programs at EVIT, a public Joint Technical Education District (JTED) that offers advanced career training at two central Mesa campuses 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 central campuses tuition-free. They take academic courses at their high school and then spend a half-day at EVIT training for careers in culinary arts, health care, welding, firefighting and more. Tuition-based programs for adults are also offered, with financial aid available for those who qualify.
Fashion, Interiors & Textiles students learn how to design, produce, purchase, promote and sell merchandise and accessories. They study the elements and principles of design, fabrics and textiles, use of color and texture, retail theory, visual merchandising, sewing and pattern-making, culminating every year in the spring EVIT Design Show.
Students in the program also have the opportunity to go on field trips to design schools in New York and Los Angeles, and to compete in state events sponsored by the Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). In fact, while attending EVIT, Poturalski won a $4,000-per-year FCCLA scholarship to attend FIDM.
Now she’s living in a beachfront city near LA and working her dream career.
“EVIT was a huge stepping stone and a great way to learn what I wanted to do without spending a lot of money,” she said. “It was a step in the right direction.”
Students at EVIT’s central campuses have a 98 percent high school graduation rate, 2 out of 3 go to college, and 85 percent are in college, jobs or the military within one year of their EVIT training. Nearly every program prepares students to earn professional licenses or credentials. Information: www.evit.com
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