The East Valley Institute of Technology’s automotive program will receive national attention following a visit Wednesday from leaders in the automotive industry.
Phil Brady, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association and chairman of Automotive Youth Educational Systems, and Larry Cummings, president and chief executive officer of AYES, came to EVIT because the Mesa career and technical high school ranks first in the nation for placing student automotive technicians with dealerships.
A video of their visit will feature EVIT as a model for schools and dealerships throughout the country. The video will be shown at an upcoming national automotive education conference.
EVIT is the first school Brady has visited since he became the AYES chairman last month.
“This is the best program out there,” Brady said.
Current and former students, instructors from EVIT and local community colleges and auto dealers who use EVIT students as interns met with Brady and Cummings at EVIT on Wednesday prior to their tour of the campus.
Dealership representatives said students who come from EVIT are of high quality, and the partnership is a win-win for everybody.
Cecilia Granado, a 2003 graduate, said she is “proud and privileged to have gone to EVIT and (be) making something of it.”
Granado had an internship with Earnhardt Dodge her junior year and began working there out of school as a technician.
She went through Chrysler training through the dealership and is now a service adviser assistant.
At EVIT, she received more one-on-one instruction than she would have at a regular high school, she said.
EVIT Superintendent Sally Downey said the school would not have the same quality automotive program if it weren’t for its business partnerships.
“We work together to try to make the lives better for these young people, but also to supply the work force so badly needed in Arizona and throughout the country,” Downey said.
More than 50 automobile dealers in the East Valley partner with EVIT, and there are usually more requests for students than there are students available.
In addition to bringing EVIT students in to job-shadow, intern or work after they graduate, many Valley dealerships also donate cars to the school for students to practice on.
Cummings said there are 430 AYES schools nationwide and very few are as large as EVIT, which has 14 bays for each of its five instructors.
“We’re here to recognize that Dr. Downey and the school epitomizes the best of the best,” Cummings said.