Education secretary tours Louisville SkillsUSA competition

Education secretary tours Louisville SkillsUSA competition
stopping at various displays toDeVos and Bevin stopped to talk with educators and participants at SkillsUSA on Thursday.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin tour the SkillsUSA competition. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin tour the SkillsUSA competition. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in Louisville on Thursday at the SkillsUSA National Conference.

DeVos' visit comes just a week after Trump officials proposed a plan to combine the federal Labor and Education Departments.

The combination would have to be approved by Congress and was included in a Management and Budget proposal released a week ago.

DeVos and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin toured the competition as students faced off, stopping at various displays to talk with educators and SkillsUSA participants.

Jack Duplessis, a sophomore at Manual High School who invented a way for laundry dryers to output audible options for the blind, spoke to the two government leaders.

"That was really exciting," Duplessis said. "I didn't really expect that. They seemed happy with it and I'm glad I could just show it to them."

Others in different fields like trades, medicine and technology also showed off their skills.

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Those skills are something employers said are critically needed right now and programs like SkillsUSA are helping provide them.

"Just the importance of creating the right skills," GE Appliances CEO Kevin Nolan said, referencing what he'd be talking to DeVos and Bevin about. "So, we can keep flourishing in places like Louisville Kentucky."

DeVos did not take questions from reporters Thursday, but Governor Bevin said he believed the proposed combination of Labor and Education Departments was a step in the right direction.

"Departments don't exist to be entities on themselves," Bevin said. "They exist to create constructive members of society, people who can contribute, people who have the skills necessary to work. To me, education and labor go hand in hand."

SkillsUSA leaders echoed that belief.

"As I was talking with Secretary DeVos, she agrees all education must be demand driven," Timothy Lawrence, the Executive Director of SkillsUSA, said.

Bevin added that the state is already doing something similar in regards to education and labor, and will continue to communicate between the two departments.

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