Gov. Katie Hobbs will be the featured speaker at the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) Beam Signing Ceremony for HopeTech at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9 at the EVIT Main Campus in Mesa.
In 2022, state lawmakers allocated $10 million to the East Valley Institute of Technology, a Career Technical Education District (CTED) with two central campuses in Mesa, to build residential housing for students who are aging out of the state foster care system. Construction is now well under way at HopeTech, where these students will have a safe place to live while they complete their high school education, learn a trade in one of 50 EVIT career programs and receive additional support services.
“Statistics show that youth who are getting ready to transition out of the foster system face an uphill climb. They are more likely to drop out of school, become homeless, experience hunger and have difficulty becoming employed,” said EVIT Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson. “At HopeTech, we are going to give these students the support they desperately need to become independent adults.”
HopeTech, an apartment-style community on the east side of the EVIT Main Campus, will open in July with 16 students to start. Eventually, it will house up to 64 students ages 18 to 21 who are or were in foster care at age 18. They will pay a maximum rent of $500 and will be required to work a part-time job and spend 35 hours a week on academic requirements, internships, volunteer commitments and more.
“Imagine what it was like for you when you turned 18 or when your children turned 18. What would that have been like if you had no home, no family to support you or if your children had no one to support them? That’s the scary prospect that teenagers aging out of foster care face,” Wilson said. “At HopeTech, we are going to wrap our arms around these students and provide them with the security, structure and support they need to step into life on their own.”
EVIT provides 50 career training programs for East Valley high school students and Phoenix-area adults, including Surgical Technology, Nursing and a wide range of health-care technician programs, Industrial Trades such as Welding, HVAC and Construction, and many more such as Cosmetology, Collision Repair, and Firefighting.
EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, two out of three go on to college, and over 90% are in jobs related to their training, college or the military within a year of completing their program.