A new Arizona law signed this week by Gov. Doug Ducey will allow the East Valley Institute of Technology to offer associate degrees. EVIT will now begin the process of seeking accreditation approval and hiring additional faculty with the goal of offering its first degree in the 2023-24 school year.
“Arizona’s career and technical education districts are equipping students with the skills to fill the jobs of tomorrow,” Gov. Ducey said in a press release issued by the governor’s office on April 29. “These high schools are teaching the ‘shop’ classes of the 21st century — often integrating with industry partners and providing students with real-world experience in top industries. Now, students will have higher education at their fingertips, in familiar settings.” (Read the governor’s press release: azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2022/04/governor-ducey-signs-bill-expand-education-demand-industries)
Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson and Chief Academic Officer Ronda Doolen have been working with lawmakers and stakeholders for several months to secure the passage of House Bill 2034, which allows Arizona’s Career Technical Education Districts to offer associate degrees in CTE programs that are on the state’s in-demand regional education list.
“For 30 years, EVIT has provided career training that prepares students for entry-level employment and college. But since then, the needs of employers have changed, with 65% of all jobs now requiring post-secondary education and training beyond high school,” said EVIT Superintendent Wilson. “This new law will allow CTEDs to evolve to better meet the needs of today’s students and ensure that they can thrive and grow in their chosen career.”
The next steps for EVIT include establishing a timetable and seeking approval from its postsecondary accrediting body, the Council on Occupational Education, to change its accreditation to include associate degree programs. EVIT will also need to begin hiring faculty for academic subjects, such as college math and English, Wilson said.
The goal is for EVIT to offer its first associate degree program in the 2023-24 school year. Doolen said the first associate degree program EVIT would like to offer is Registered Nursing, followed by Industrial Trades. Tuition will be based on the cost to run the program.
After COE approval, EVIT will be able to award its high school students credit toward their associate degree or through prior learning assessment, Doolen said.
HB 2034 was sponsored by Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, and co-sponsored by House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa; Rep. Walt Blackman, R-Snowflake; and Rep. Frank Carroll, R-Sun City West.
“We are so thankful to the legislators who supported House Bill 2034,” Wilson said. “At EVIT, we truly believe that we have the ability to change lives – and even more so now that we will have the ability to offer our students an associate degree.”
EVIT offers more than 40 career training programs for high school students and adults at two central campuses in Mesa and a branch campus at Apache Junction High School. For more information, visit evit.com.
Editor’s note: CeCe Todd is the public information officer for the East Valley Institute of Technology.
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