This week, nearly 2,500 high school students and adults from across the Valley completed career training programs through the East Valley Institute of Technology.
During two ceremonies at Chicago Cubs Sloan Park Stadium, we celebrated these students who will go on to be our next generation workforce.
For our high school students, this was no small feat. Most of them have attended EVIT for a half-day for two years, many of them giving up sports and other activities so they could commit themselves to their career training.
For many of our adult students, this marks the end of a period in which they juggled full-time jobs and families with career training so they could upgrade their skills, earn advanced certifications or start a new career.
For all of them, this is the beginning of a journey to see where their EVIT training will take them.
At EVIT, we strive every day to change lives. That’s what quality career training can do. The skills and knowledge our students learn now lay the groundwork for them to have a better quality of life.
It also improves the quality of Arizona’s workforce – which improves the quality of life for all of us.
We are undergoing a lot of changes at EVIT as we work toward ensuring that the training we provide continues to change lives and meets the evolving needs of our state and workforce.
That’s why we pursued and succeeded in getting legislation passed to allow Career Technical Education Districts like EVIT to offer associate degrees.
When EVIT first opened its doors 30 years ago, there were many good jobs and careers that did not require any post-secondary education.
But today, the Center for the Future of Arizona estimates that 65% of all jobs require some education and training beyond high school. To help meet that demand, we hope to be offering at EVIT associate degrees in nursing, paramedics, and surgical technology by January.
In a fast-changing world, our most vulnerable populations often get left behind. At EVIT, we are putting programs and initiatives in place to help ensure that one of those populations – Arizona’s foster care youth – don’t get left behind.
In June, we will break ground on a new residential facility at the EVIT Main Campus, where students who are getting ready to age out of the foster system can live and receive support services while taking one of our career training programs.
We hope our foster care efforts will become a model that other CTEDs can use to meet the needs of these students who have no family to support them.
These are challenging life-changing goals that require commitment and hard work. But if the 2,500 EVIT students who crossed the ceremony stage this week are any indication, they are reachable goals that are worth the effort.
Dr. Chad Wilson is superintendent of the East Valley Institute of Technology, a Career Technical Education District providing career training for high school students and adults at two central Mesa campuses and in high schools in 11 East Valley school districts. Information: evit.com.
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