CONTACT:  JIM MORRIS
Director, Public Information
573-751-3469

Vol. 44, No. 21

March 11, 2010

Connecting Classrooms to Careers

DECA Conference Convenes Top Marketing Students

More than 1,400 high school marketing students and their teachers will gather this weekend for the 62nd Missouri DECA State Career Development Conference (March 14-16) at the Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake Ozark.  The conference is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Education.

DECA is an international association of high school students studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. Missouri DECA ranks fifth in the nation in membership with more than 8,500 members. 

“Membership in DECA provides students with an exciting way to gain college and career readiness,” said Gayla Hays, state advisor for DECA and supervisor of the Department’s business, marketing, and information technology section.

“Attending DECA conferences, taking part in competitive events, and working on chapter activities throughout the year help students learn desirable business traits and skills, including leadership, public speaking, goal-setting, problem-solving, and civic awareness. These interpersonal skills provide a strong foundation for any career path,” Hays said.

During the conference Monday, competitive events will simulate 36 realistic workplace topics. Competitors will have one-on-one interaction with a business community member to practice their skills. Events include entrepreneurship promotion, retail merchandising, financial literacy, food marketing, hotel and lodging management, and business law and ethics team decision making. A new event this year is sports and entertainment marketing operations research.

“By participating in the DECA competitive events program, students apply what they learn in their marketing courses,” said Hays. “Students learn to conduct marketing research, devise promotion plans, start-up businesses, and participate in Internet challenges and simulations.”

The individual, team, and chapter projects will be judged by more than 100 professionals from business and industry. Winners at the state conference will advance to international DECA competition that will be held April 23-28 in Louisville, Ky.

The opening session begins at 8 p.m. Sunday. Special guest will be Sen. Carl Vogel, Jefferson City, who will speak on entrepreneurship and community involvement. The keynote address will be delivered by Heather Schultz, a motivational speaker for youth from Atlanta, Ga. International DECA President, Ryan Dyck of Colorado, will be on hand to greet students and their teachers. He formerly was a DECA member at Clinton Technical School.

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For more information, contact: Gayla Hays, Missouri DECA State Advisor, Missouri Department of Education (573.751.4367).

Missouri DECA:  http://www.dese.mo.gov/careered/deca.htm