CVIT Has Seen the Future and It Looks Bright

Photos by Carol Broeder/Arizona Silver Belt Cobre Valley Institute of Technology Executive Program Director Mike O’Neal checks out the program’s new website, www.cvit18.org, with which students can view program offerings and even enroll online.

Offering career readiness training for students while they are still in high school.

That’s what the Cobre Valley Institute of Technology (CVIT) District does in an effort to create successful futures for area students.

It provides specialized vocational education — now known as Career and Technical Education (CTE) — to area students. 

CVIT started in 2000 with the Miami, Superior and Hayden-Winkelman School Districts.

Six years later, voters in the San Carlos Unified School District approved joining CVIT and, in 2017, voters in the Ray Unified School District also decided to participate.

Voters in the Globe Unified School District (GUSD) elected to join in 2008, said CVIT Executive Program Director Mike O’Neal, who has been with GUSD for 22 years as a coach, vocational teacher, Career and Technical Education Director and Dean of Students.

Now, CVIT is not only maintaining its current enrollment, but offering two new programs, as well.

Welding and nursing assistant programs are now available through Central Arizona College’s Aravaipa Campus, at 80440 E. Aravaipa Rd., in Winkelman.

“These new programs are creating opportunities for students in those areas to jump start their careers while earning college credit and industry certification,” O’Neal said.

In the past month, CVIT has also launched its new website, CVIT81.org, which “gives you an idea of who we are,” he said.

Using the website, students are able to see the programs CVIT offers, view the requirements and apply online, O’Neal said.

“It’s also a good way to reach homeschooled students who are hard to reach because they do not go to the high school,” he said.

Also, on the horizon is shared CTE services among area school districts, a project O’Neal is working on with Miami Junior/Senior High School Principal and CTE Director Glen Lineberry.

“We are working to revive and expand the sharing of CTE assets between local districts,” Lineberry said. “The governing boards in Globe and Miami are expected to renew an intergovernmental agreement permitting students in each high school to take CTE courses, as well as upper-level math and science classes, at the other school.”

“In the past it relied on students physically moving between campuses,” using the shared bus route that takes Globe and Miami students to CVIT and the college each day, he said.

“It looks like we will be able to offer at least some of these classes online, which would reduce student movement while expanding offerings,” Lineberry said. “We hope to include San Carlos in the exchange, as well.”

O’Neal gave the example that if the Miami school district has a graphic design teacher, but San Carlos does not, students in San Carlos could participate in that class in Miami.

Calling it new and exciting, O’Neal said it will give CTE students another educational opportunity, which CVIT hopes to roll out in the fall.

In the meantime, current CTE students continue to experience success. 

A recent example is the GHS culinary arts program, which attended the FCCLA leadership conference held April 15-17 in Tucson.

Teacher Londa Waggoner called it a great learning experience for both herself and her students.

“The students had never participated in anything like this competition,” she said. 

The students earned a silver medal and three bronze in cupcake decorating, baking and pastry. 

Through its TIGER project, the GHS Alumni Association had bought new stoves after learning last year that while the culinary arts program had eight stoves, only one of them still worked. 

The alumni also bought a new kitchen ventilation system, which was installed without compromising the look of the historic building, O’Neal said.

CVIT programs are open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who qualify, and they must apply through CVIT.

For more information, or to learn about enrolling in CVIT programs, contact Mike O’Neal at 928-425-9654 or 928-242-1907 or via e-mail at mo’[email protected]

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