Secretary of Education DeVos to make stop in W. Columbia on Thursday

Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 6:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Betsy DeVos will be making her way to the Midlands on Thursday.

According to officials, the Secretary of Education will tour Nephron Pharmaceuticals in West Columbia on Thursday. The visit is part of the Trump administration’s initiative to promote workforce development and education freedom.

The visit will also highlight Nephron’s participation in President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers.

Lou Kennedy, the CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, has hired over 650 teachers over the past four months for part-time work during the summer months. She has also hired more than 100 high school and college-aged individuals for internships this summer, allowing both teachers and students to learn new skills.

“We said, how can we get some really incredible, reliable part-time help so that we can get these orders out to the hospitals who need them desperately,” Kennedy said. “My mom taught for 40 years and I thought who better than a teacher.”

Nephron, who manufactures generic respiratory medication, is one of around 250 companies nationwide to join President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers.

Kelli Brown, who works at Nephron and taught in Lexington School District One for 26 years, said this allows teachers to invest more in the students.

“Teachers are now learning a new skill and adding to their skillset they have as a teacher and taking that back to the classroom and sharing that with their students,” Brown said.

Kennedy said she knows hiring teachers is a win-win because of the way she saw her mom invest in students.

“I know she spent countless dollars on taking things back to the children in the classroom,” Kennedy said. “Whether it was stickers or books. All teachers do that, so if we can spend a few extra dollars in their pocket to do good things for our children which of course are our future leaders and employees, then it’s a good thing.”

Kennedy said other South Carolina businesses have reached out to her about joining the pledge. She said that the new companies will be announced tomorrow when they sign the pledge.

DeVos is also expected to hold an roundtable discussion on Thursday as well. DeVos will be joined by Gov. Henry McMaster and state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. The roundtable discussion will happen in Taylors at the Hidden Treasure Christian School.

The roundtable discussion will be about Devos’ Education Freedom Scholarships proposal.

The visit from DeVos comes just two months after more than 10,000 teachers rallied at the South Carolina State House seeking education reform.

DeVos previously visited underperforming schools here in South Carolina in what’s been called the “Corridor of Shame” back in February.

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