The East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) has long provided career and technical training to high school students in the Valley, but the opportunities don’t stop after high school is over.
EVIT has a wide range of adult educational offerings, from surgical technology to welding, and is expanding its programs to serve more of the workforce.
“Part of the reason (Superintendent) Dr. (Sally) Downey wanted to add to the adult programs is it gives our students another opportunity right here on campus,” said Denise Kruckenberg, adult education director at EVIT. “She didn’t want them to pay all of the money at other schools.”
In October, EVIT is launching a Classic Auto Restoration program for adults. The school received a $20,000 grant from the RPM Foundation to start the program, which will train people on the steps and skills needed to restore an automobile.
“Restoration is going to be more on the older cars, but not necessarily old. Anything can be restored,” said Vernon Gamble, who will be the lead instructor for the course. “They’ll learn fabrication, welding, pinstriping, airbrushing; getting out of the realm of just fixing regular cars.
“And it’s going to really be dedicated to what the students want to do, too. They’re going to pay for it. If they come in and they bring their own cars and say, ‘This is what I want to do,’ then I’m going to dedicate what they do based on that.
The RPM Foundation is the educational arm of America’s Automotive Trust, an organization that works to preserve America’s automotive heritage.
The program will kick off in October with a classic car show at EVIT and go until March.
“The mindset for me was, ‘How about all of those people who come out here as snowbirds?’” Kruckenberg said. “Some will be young people who will go work in the field, but others will be people who want to fix their cars on their own.”
The class will be in the evening at the Mesa campus, 1601 W. Main St., three days a week for four hours (5-9 p.m.) Kruckenberg said that there isn’t a national or state certification for classic automobile restoration, but students who complete the course will get an EVIT certificate of completion.
For the adult education programs, financial aid assistance, grants and scholarships are available. Other adult education programs available at EVIT are: Cabling and cable installation training, barbering, collision repair, cosmetology, plumbing service and repair, HVAC and refrigeration, laser aesthetics, practical nursing, solar maintenance and installation, sterile processing, surgical technology and welding.
“We are the only institution in Arizona that is post-secondary that can offer Title IV Pell Grant funding and we’re not a university,” said Kruckenberg. “Our programs aren’t credit hour based, they’re clock hour based. They all end with a certification or licensure that is nationally or state recognized.”
The classic automobile restoration course is just one of the ways EVIT is expanding its offerings to adults.
The school received $540,000 in federal and state grant money to start a new Industrial Trades Academy this fall. The academy will provide GED preparation and basic adult education to adults who want to go into careers in high-demand industrial trades jobs — construction, electrical, welding, machining, HVAC, automotive, collision repair, diesel and heavy equipment. These students will take their GED classes at EVIT while also receiving their career training in one of our industrial trades programs.
Also, EVIT was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Chase Bank Foundation to start a new Occupational Therapy Assistant program for adults that will allow them to receive their OTA training at EVIT and an associate’s degree from one of our community colleges.
Also, EVIT started its paid apprenticeship program in partnership with Arizona Builders. Program participants get paid to work on actual construction sites during the day and then come to EVIT two nights a week for additional training.
For information on the adult programs, go online to EVIT.com.
– Steve Burks is a freelance writer for MyNewsMesa.com. EVIT Public Information Officer Cece Todd contributed to this report.