During a speech at a conference hosted by the Association of Community College Trustees and the American Association of Community Colleges, newly-confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave attendees a taste of what some of her postsecondary education priorities might be.
In her speech, DeVos signaled that both she and President Donald Trump plan to emphasize the importance of and find ways to expand vocational and technical education, types of programs that are commonly provided by community colleges, which she referred to as “absolutely essential engines of workforce and economic development.”
“Community colleges are a uniquely American national asset,” DeVos said in her first speech focusing on higher education. “You are nimble, inclusive and entrepreneurial. You provide important and valued pathways for students to prepare for success in the competitive economy. You equip students for high-demand fields and skilled jobs that help grow local economies and maintain communities.”
DeVos said that in addition to focusing on expanding technical and vocational education in his 100-day action plan, Trump has said that providing multiple pathways for higher education is “an absolute priority” for the administration.
Although DeVos did not explicitly indicate whether she would support certain policy positions – such as state-based early college programs and “allowing Pell Grants to have flexibility” in helping students graduate more quickly – she acknowledged that they are part of many items on community colleges’ legislative agenda and said she looks forward “to hearing your thoughts and working with you as President Trump’s vision continues taking shape.”
Publication Date: 2/17/2017