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Feb 22, 2017 05:38 AM EST

Betsy DeVos Believes Community Colleges Play Important Role In Workforce Development

Betsy DeVos praises community colleges
Betsy DeVos praises community colleges
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Betsy DeVos has acknowledged the significant role that community colleges will play in the advancement of President Donald Trump's workforce agenda. She made the announcement last week at a meeting of community college leaders, marking her first appearance at a conference event as Education Secretary.

Diverse Education reported that DeVos described community colleges as inclusive, entrepreneurial and nimble. She spoke from prepared remarks at the National Legislative Summit of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).

The Education Secretary stated that community colleges' identities and scopes are aligned with President Donald Trump's 100-day plan, which includes job creation. DeVos said that expanding technical and vocational education and affordability are important elements of workforce development.

She told community college leaders that they play a significant role in workforce and economic development in both local and regional scales. Community colleges help recognize and solve the skills gap between employers and those who are seeking jobs which help U.S. businesses to thrive and expand.

Betsy DeVos also said that she knows the legislative priorities of community colleges. She revealed that she was willing to work with leaders during the reauthorization of the Perkins Act and Higher Education Act.

She specifically praised early college programs, which allow high school students to get college credits. She also gave her agreement on increased Pell Grant flexibility.

According to The Associated Press, via WOODTV.com, she described community colleges as unique American national assets. Community colleges are known for providing more personalized attention to students and to be more in tune with its local communities.

Speaking to The Chronicle of Higher Education, University of North Carolina president Margaret Spellings suggested that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos should prioritize streamlining the paths from secondary to postsecondary education. Spellings added that DeVos should support community colleges as well.

Institutions such as Stanford University, Harvard University and West Virginia University have urged Betsy DeVos to improve Title IX. A lot of people are hoping that, regardless of DeVos' lack of experience in public education, she may bring about a positive change in the department.

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