EVIT career training produces entrepreneurs

EVIT career training produces entrepreneurs
Posted on 01/18/2023
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Want to own your own business?

  • Learn an industry from the ground up by enrolling at EVIT
  • Develop occupational and entrepreneurial skills
  • Earn certifications and licenses
More info: www.evit.com

Jackie Shappell is operating a successful bakery out of her Queen Creek home. Anthony Lopez and Katherine Lozano are the co-owners of a Chandler therapeutic massage clinic. All three entrepreneurs got their start at the East Valley Institute of Technology, a Mesa career training school where students often go on to start their own businesses.

"Career and technical education such as we provide at EVIT is an excellent starting place for students who think they would like to be business owners someday," said Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson.

"Whether it's automotive or cosmetology or massage therapy -- any of our programs -- they literally learn their chosen industry from the ground roots up,” he said. “They leave EVIT not only knowing the skills for a particular job and earning certifications and licenses, but also with a work ethic, experience in working with others, and with knowledge of the latest trends in that industry."

EVIT offers over 40 career training programs for East Valley high school students and Phoenix-area adults at two central campuses in Mesa and a branch campus at Apache Junction High School. High school students attend tuition-free; adults pay tuition. Changes in state law have also made it possible for many of this year’s graduating high school seniors to attend EVIT tuition-free as adults next year.  Learn more: https://bit.ly/3HzawL0.

Recent legislation also means EVIT will be able to offer associate degrees in high-demand fields starting in 2023-24. Wilson said EVIT's associate degrees will include training in how to start and operate a business.

“All EVIT programs not only teach the specific program skills, but also embed the Arizona CTE Professional Skills Standards,” said Dr. Stephaine Frimer, director of curriculum and instruction. “These added standards help prepare students for a career in the related program and include practicing the skills needed to be entrepreneurs, such as communication, collaboration, self-direction and financial practices.”

It's common for students in Cosmetology and Aesthetics to have the desire to run their own shop. “Some tell me they want to go to college for a business degree for that reason,” said Lisa French, cosmetic arts supervisor.

Beka Hussong completed EVIT’s Aesthetics program in 2010, earned her aesthetician license from the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona. Today, she is the creator, owner and operator of a California salon with a skin care line that is sold all over the United States and internationally.

“I always wanted to have my own business because I always wanted to be my own boss and live on my own terms,” she said.

Last March, a survey from Junior Achievement USA found that 60% of American teenagers want to start their own business someday rather than working for an employer.

That’s not surprising to EVIT graphic design instructor Eric Perez, who has seen many of his former students go on to become entrepreneurs. Because the program covers principles of marketing and business management, many of these alumni started their own freelance businesses without going to college.

“Some students do not wish to go to college and therefore, this (EVIT) education can help the young entrepreneurial person start their own business,” Perez said.

In 2022, EVIT students earned 939 professional certifications and licenses, 95% of students said they would recommend EVIT to a friend and 98% of parents said they would recommend EVIT to other families.

Enrollment in high school programs for 2023-24 is under way and enrollment in adult programs is ongoing throughout the year. To start the process, visit: www.evit.com/enrollnow.