Magazine article Techniques

Industry Support: Helps EVIT CTE Programs

Magazine article Techniques

Industry Support: Helps EVIT CTE Programs

Article excerpt

The superintendent of Arizona's oldest career and technical education (CTE) school has a simple formula for engaging employers in CTE: Give them great return on investment.

"To get industry involved we have to deliver a product they want," said Sally Downey, superintendent of the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) in Mesa.

"These are business people. They come to us because they need the skilled workforce that we produce. They will get involved in our programs, but they have to see a return on their investment."

EVIT, which offers 40 CTE programs and turns out approximately 1,000 to 1,200 program completers each year, works closely with Arizona business and industry. Every program has an advisory council of industry representatives who help guide the curriculum, offer internships and job shadowing for students, and donate equipment and other resources. Their expertise and the hands-on experiences they provide ensure that EVIT students are trained to meet the latest industry standards and are motivated to stay in school.

As a result, EVIT students have a 96 percent high school graduation rate--20 percentage points higher than Arizona's graduation rate--and an 87 percent placement rate. From 2012 to 2015, within one year of completing their training, 870 EVTT students were hired by the following Arizona industries:

* Health Care-321

* Cosmetology-150

* Automotive-96

* Culinary Arts-91

* Building trades (construction, machining, welding, HVAC)-76

* Other (aviation, information technology, early childhood education, fashion and interior design, firefighting, law enforcement, communications)-136

Those numbers account only for students who were hired within one year. During that same time period, many other EVIT alumni would have graduated from college or other postsecondary training and entered the workforce.

Dante Fierros, president of Nichols Precision in Tempe, Arizona, hired six alumni from EVIT's Machining Technology program in the last 18 months--and they have all worked out great, he said. He bases his hiring decisions on what prospective employees have learned, their attitude and what they know. EVIT students get high marks in part because EVIT's machining program is accredited by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, Inc., and they have the opportunity to earn NIMS credentials.

Fierros said students who come out of a machining program like EVIT's "have demonstrated to employers that they have a tremendous work ethic because they've taken the program for two years at a school with a proven track record and certification process."

Building Industry Support

Few programs at EVIT enjoy as much industry support as the Construction Technologies program. Enrollment declined during the real estate crash in the Phoenix market, but now, as that industry is coming back, so are the students who are interested in a construction career. With 50 students currently enrolled, instructor Billy DeWitt is having no trouble lining up industry support. This year, the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona provided work boots, textbooks and tools; Sundt Construction donated $5,000; the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Contractors of Arizona and Okland Construction provided materials; and an estimator from Okland Construction taught the class about estimating.

"I reach out to industry to find out what they are looking for. They want employees who are well-rounded in construction," DeWitt said. "I get calls every day from those who want to partner with us."

Bill Okland, president of Okland Construction, noted that EVIT provides hands-on training that gives students a real-world application. "Okland is a strong supporter of this type of training because it fosters advanced skills that can be immediately applied upon the students' hire in the workforce," he said. …

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