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May 1, 2018
EVIT a gem that helps young adults thrive
Commentary by Councilmember Terry Roe

At a time when many students celebrate their graduation, I would like to send a special shout-out to all those who have participated in a career training program at the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT). EVIT offers outstanding technical education to high school juniors and seniors from ten different school districts in the Valley. Thousands of Chandler students have made the daily commitment to commute from their high school to one of EVIT’s campuses in order to gain valuable professional skills.  Many of them choose to further their education at the college level, but upon graduating from EVIT, they receive an industry certification or license that enables them to enter the workforce right off the bat. It’s great that Chandler students have access to this free resource, giving them a competitive advantage in today’s job market.  

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Sally Downey, the Superintendent of EVIT, as part of a Chandler in Focus program. She shared the history and vision of EVIT, and talked about the expansion of EVIT to four campuses, from the Main campus in Mesa to the East campus, Apache Junction branch and Fountain Hills branch. EVIT currently offers 45 programs in fields as diverse as fire science, graphic design, culinary art, automotive technologies, aviation, fashion design, cosmetology, health sciences, and more. We discussed the benefits of enrolling at EVIT and the opportunity to earn embedded high school credits and dual enrollment credits.

What impresses me the most with EVIT are the success stories from graduating students.  During my interview, we invited Joey Liberatore, an alum from Perry High School, to share his accomplishments. Joey is one of EVIT’s shining stars who earned a “Student of the Year Award” and a “Road to Success Award” for his work in the field of sports radio broadcasting.  He joined EVIT’s Radio/Audio Production program at the age of 15 and by the time he turned 18, he was the youngest media relations director in sports’ history. Thanks to his natural talent, the dedication of his instructors and the state-of-the-art equipment he trained on, Joey was able to kick-start his career with the Chicago Cubs, Johnson City Cardinals, Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Arizona Diamondbacks. Like many other students at EVIT, Joey found his passion and was given the tools to succeed.

Through an extensive network of business partners, EVIT provides invaluable internships and job placements. Joey benefited from internships with ESPN 620 AM and Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. It goes without saying that this experience boosted his resume and value to recruiters nationwide.

Other programs such as the veterinary, dental and nursing assistant programs also incorporate clinicals and externships with local businesses. Likewise, the culinary art program is linked to a local restaurant in Mesa called Bistro 13, where students prepare and serve breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday. And, the automotive technologies program has an outstanding reputation. So much so, that companies from across the country donate multi-million dollar equipment so that students can practice on the most sophisticated and relevant machinery. According to Dr. Downey, this program has placed more students in jobs than any another program in the country.

The list of accomplishments and success stories from EVIT is very impressive. EVIT is truly a gem in our educational system and I encourage parents and students to tour a local campus. Through EVIT, it is amazing to see young adults thrive and become the best they can be even upon graduation from high school. Visit for more information and check out my interview online at