Guest Post By CeCe Todd, for the East Valley Institute of Technology
Every day, Connor Boucher works on big Caterpillar scrapers, motor graders, articulated rock trucks and other heavy machinery used in the construction industry. For someone who enjoyed growing up around farm equipment, it’s a dream job come true.
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is the diverse range of equipment I get to put my hands on,” said Boucher, who completed the East Valley Institute of Technology’s Diesel Technologies program last year and is now employed as a mechanic helper with Rummel Construction Inc., in Scottsdale.
Diesel Technologies is one of more than 40 career training programs EVIT provides for East Valley high school students and adults at two central campuses in Mesa. High school students pay program fees, but no tuition. Adult programs are tuition-based.
When Boucher started the two-year Diesel program at the EVIT Main Campus, 1601 W. Main St., he was a senior at Mesa’s Skyline High School. He graduated from Skyline before he could complete the program. But thanks to a state-funded CTED (Career Technical Education District) Completer Grant, he was able to return to EVIT the next year as an adult student and finish his training tuition-free.
Over the past three years, CTED Completer Grants have allowed nearly 500 EVIT students to complete their career training. Students can start two-year EVIT programs as juniors, but sometimes they have difficulty fitting it into their schedule until their senior year. This is when CTED Completer Grants make it possible for them to finish.
“The CTED Completer Grants have been a blessing for students who may start EVIT as seniors because they are struggling to meet all of their graduation requirements, or maybe because they simply don’t know until their senior year which career path they want to pursue,” said EVIT Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson. “These grants are a win-win because they allow students to complete their training – and that in turn, helps our state with workforce development and ensuring industry has the skilled professionals it needs.”
At EVIT, Boucher got to work on big rig trucks and heavy machinery as he learned about cooling systems, starting and charging systems, engine lubrication, maintenance and repair, and basic mechanical performance.
While he was attending EVIT, Rummel Construction approached Diesel instructor Steve Bernasek to see if he had any students who would be good candidates for an internship. Bernasek recommended and mentored Boucher, who did such a good job, he was eventually hired full-time.
“Most of my training has been from EVIT and a ton of on-the-job training,” Boucher said.
Eventually, he would like to have his own service truck at Rummel and in the distant future, open his own shop. He knows those goals are possible because of the hands-on instruction and training that taught him to figure things out.
“The biggest piece of advice I can give fellow students is most things mechanical are ‘in theory,’ but oftentimes it doesn’t pan out that way,” Boucher said. “You have to keep an open mind and be creative.”
EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, 2 out of three go on to college and approximately 94% are in jobs, college or the military within a year of completing their training. Enrollment for 2021-22 is under way. Enroll: www.evit.com/enroll
Connor’s Career Path:
- Enrolled in EVIT’s Diesel Technologies program as a senior.
- Completed the Diesel program as a high school graduate through the CTED Completer Grant program.
- Interned at Rummel Construction
- Hired by Rummel Construction
- Goal: Own and operate a diesel shop
How to enroll in high school programs at EVIT
- Complete and submit application online at www.evit.com/enroll
- Parents/legal guardians of new students will need an active email account to access and use the online registration system
- Upload attendance record, discipline record, current unofficial transcripts and proof of immunizations
- Admissions office will inform students via email once application is approved or if more information is needed
- EVIT is for all high school students – public, charter, private or home-schooled – who reside in one of 11 East Valley school districts: Apache Junction, Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Higley, J.O. Combs, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe
- More information: Call (480) 461-4108
How to enroll in adult programs at EVIT
- Schedule appointment to meet with an advisor by calling (480) 461-4110
- Complete online application form at https://weareevit.formstack.com/forms/adult_app
- Tuition rates vary by program. Apply for financial aid by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov and using school code 035723
- Send questions about financial aid to [email protected]
- More information: Call (480) 461-4110