Video: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Speaks at 2017 Community College National Legislative Summit

February 16, 2017
Betsy Devos

This morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos addressed community and technical college leaders from throughout the United States at the 2017 Community College National Legislative Summit hosted by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges.

"This is Betsy DeVos's first public address to a national higher education association," said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown. "We appreciate that Secretary DeVos has voiced her support for the role of community colleges in the nation's educational infrastructure and our vital role in getting Americans to work." ​

"My home state is rich with institutions of higher education that really focus on two-year degrees and other credentials," DeVos said. "I'm proud of them, I'm proud of their record of helping Michiganders in achieving their dreams."

She continued, "​Community colleges are a uniquely American educational asset. You are nimble, you are entrepreneurial, you provide important and valued pathways for students to prepare for success in our competitive economy. You equip students for high-demand fields and skilled jobs that help grow local economies and maintain community. And you're absolutely essential engines of workforce and economic development locally and regionally. "

"I've been on the job as Secretary of Education just over a week," she said, "and while the title and office are new the work is not at all new to me. My passion and actions have been to help improve educational opportunities for students and parents for nearly three decades. And while some have characterized the flurry of attention around my confirmation in negative terms, I've viewed it as expressions of passion. Passionate parents and passionate advocates who care deeply about their kids and about education. I applaud it, and I know the same kind of passion drives all of you."

"All of you here," DeVos said, "presidents, chancellors, trustees, faculty, staff and students who are attending today--all of you have my deepest respect for what you do, and I'll do my best to earn yours."

"We look forward to working with Secretary DeVos and the administration to advance student success and strengthen community and technical education in America.," Brown said.

The 2017 Community College National Legislative Summit began on Tuesday, bringing trustees, presidents and other leaders to Washington, D.C. for the annual event to meet with members of U.S. Congress and their staffs and to advocate for ongoing federal support of the nation's community colleges and the more than 13 million students served by them each year. More about the event can be read here

DeVos's full remarks can be read here.