US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks to FFA Convention, promotes “pathways to success”

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a stop in Indianapolis Friday as a key note speaker at the 2018 National FFA Convention.

Prior to her speech the secretary toured the convention and participated in a round-table with student leaders. During her remarks at the FFA General Session at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, she encouraged students to explore the multiple pathways to success. Adding that she wants young people to rethink how they can succeed, and what it will take to get them there.

“Too often what students learn while earning a degree isn’t actually what they need to do the work they’re hired to do,” DeVos said to the crowd of thousands.

Devos went on to add that it’s important to encourage young people to pursue the many options they have in the global economy.

“There’s a mismatch in our workforce between preparation and possibility,” she said.

A recent Purdue study found that heading into 2020, more than 60,000 agriculture jobs would become available each year, but that only about half of that amount of graduates is expected to emerge with related or necessary degrees. During her tour, DeVos praised organizations like the FFA for showing young people “what’s possible.”

“These students are having exposure to and experience with some of the career paths that they may have never have thought of absent this opportunity,” she said.

DeVos also answered questions about education policies affecting Hoosiers, namely the distribution of school vouchers and what strings should be attached in order for schools to receive them. She also addressed online charter schools and a spate of reports detailing their shortcomings. In both cases, her answer was that any decisions that are made should come without federal interference.

“I support states deciding and figuring out what is best for students in their state,” she said.

DeVos’ visit is a precursor to President Trump. The president is scheduled to speak Saturday at the convention. A big topic he’ll potentially address is the how the administration’s trade dispute with China is affecting farmers’ bottom line.

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