Giving Compass' Take:

• DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America) helps students become entrepreneurs, geared towards student leaders who want to pursue careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. 

• How can organizations such as DECA help students that are more career-oriented thrive? Are there opportunities for mentorship within this organization?

• Read about other entrepreneurship programs focused on students and increasing their presence in education. 

I knew early on that I wasn’t college-bound. I was a gifted student in elementary school and had always tested near the top of my class, but by the age of 14, I realized that my employment and income were more important to my struggling single mother than good grades and SAT scores. When I joined DECA, an organization for business students and future entrepreneurs, I found my niche and my academic salvation.

DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an international organization for student leaders following career pathways in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Participating students apply classroom learning during community outreach campaigns, in school-based enterprises like student stores and in competition against other members in all 50 states and 8 countries.

I became the chapter president in my senior year of high school, started the school’s first student store and parlayed the skills I learned into a successful 20-year career in retail management and as a small business owner.

Career technical student organizations like DECA, Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), all serve students along pathways of career readiness in tangible, contextual and indelible ways, which are inimitable in a standard classroom setting.

As a teacher, I have seen my students flourish and grow in our program, speaking in public, working with local businesses and applying the skills they’ve learned in class. he program is ambitious and rigorous. In addition to the general coursework, students are trained in cultural understanding, financial services, communications, social sector solutions, foreign affairs and management consulting.

DECA saved me and others from graduating with little purpose or direction and it gives my college-bound students a competitive edge in program applications, university classrooms and post-graduate employment.

Read the full article about student leaders by Ron Anaya at EdSource