Betsy DeVos looks to bridge gap between classroom and the workforce

Several local companies signed the President's Pledge for America's Workers in West Columbia Thursday

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Betsy DeVos told several business and education leaders that one of her goals as the U.S. Secretary of Education is to have several businesses build from within.

Devos visited West Columbia Thursday to see how companies look to incorporate younger people into full-time jobs.

When walking around the grounds of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Betsy DeVos says she was happy to see many young faces going through a hard day of work.

She says that’s a trend she hopes to see pick up steam nationwide, but she says it will take a team effort to make that happen.

“Business and industry need to get a lot more involved with the schools and with educators, and educators need to get involved with business and industry,” DeVos said.

DeVos was on hand to see several local companies sign President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers, which vows to create more than 10 million new jobs over the next five years.

Some of these opportunities are aimed at people fresh out of high school and college, looking to get a jump on their careers.

Tommy Suggs, the President and CEO of HUB Carolinas, was one of the business leaders who signed the pledge. He says signing the pledge reaffirms his commitment to developing a good team of workers.

“Everybody’s looking for good people. The economy’s strong, a lot of people out there are happy where they are, and so to get good people in, you got to grow your own,” Suggs said.

Some people say this nationwide initiative will pave the way for a more versatile workforce.

“Getting companies and getting industry connected with academia is so important because it shows how the skills that you are learning can go on and be applied to the real world,” said Miss South Carolina 2019 Morgan Nichols, who also interned at Nephron Pharmaceuticals. 

With more companies jumping on board, some business leaders say they are optimistic others can see the value in building from within.

“If we can get every business leader in every community in America to get involved with the school and future employees, it would revolutionize what we’re doing,” said Lou Kennedy, the President and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals. 

Reporting in West Columbia, Tim Scott, ABC Columbia News

Secretary DeVos also visited a school outside of Greenville today to hold a roundtable on education reform with State Superintendent Molly Spearman and Governor Henry McMaster. 

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