Evit Alum Tyler Torres

Tyler Torres, 21, loves his job as a lube line tech at Desert Car Care Center of Chandler, where he is aspiring to become an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master certified technician. He is well on his way toward meeting that goal thanks to the career training he received at the East Valley Institute of Technology.

EVIT alum and auto technician Tyler Torres inspects the vehicle before repair. Torres, who graduated in 2014 from New School for the Arts & Academics, a Tempe charter school, enrolled at EVIT in the 2014-15 school year through the “Young Grads” program, which allows high school graduates under the age of 22 to receive state-funded career and technical education. That program was cut by the state Legislature in 2015, but current students were grandfathered in to be able to complete their programs.

“The Young Grads program has served a population in dire need of career training,” said EVIT Superintendent Dr. Sally Downey. “The Young Grads are students who graduated from high school without employable skills and no plans for career or college. There is no better population for workforce development. The students need the training and business and industry needs the skilled workers that training provides. It’s win-win.”

EVIT offers over 40 occupation-specific programs tuition-free for high school students who live in 10 East Valley school districts. Students take their academic courses at their high school for a half-day and advanced career training at an EVIT central campus for a half-day. EVIT also offers tuition-based programs for adults, with financial aid available for those who qualify.

Torres was unable to fit EVIT into his high school schedule, so he enrolled in EVIT’s Automotive Technologies program after graduating. He also took some Welding courses at EVIT. If the Young Grads program had not been in place, he would have had to pay tuition, like all other adult students. He credits the Young Grad program and EVIT for giving him the career success he is already enjoying.

“Before the program, I didn’t know left from right,” he said. “After training and going into the industry, I am more prepared than the average guy with more room to grow.”

While at EVIT, Torres earned six out of eight ASE certifications, which, he said, showed employers that “I took school more seriously than others have.” He also got the opportunity to spend three days in job shadowing at Desert Car Care Center, which led directly to him being hired there.

Job shadowing and internships are a major part of the EVIT Automotive program and often lead to employment. According to the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association, EVIT places more Automotive students in internships than any other school in the nation. The program also offers dual enrollment college credit through Mesa Community College and Gateway Community College.

EVIT’s other programs include Construction, Culinary Arts, Firefighting, Aviation, Engineering, Graphic Design, a variety of Health programs, and much more.

Torres highly recommends EVIT to others. “Don’t get stuck wondering if you should have done it,” he said. “You don’t know until you do.”

EVIT students have a 98 percent high school graduation rate and 85 percent are in college, jobs or the military within one year of completing their training. Nearly every EVIT program prepares students to earn industry licenses or certifications. Information: www.evit.com

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