DECA: Skills Learned Today Offer Lifelong Advantages
by DECA Advisor and Marketing Teacher Keri Jensen
Eastside Catholic DECA has a strong tradition of fundraising and successful competition results, but what is DECA really and why is it important to have a DECA chapter at EC?
DECA is a national organization that prepares future leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Here at Eastside Catholic School, our guiding principles are to integrate this learning into classroom instruction, apply learning through applicable projects, promote healthy competition and connect to businesses in the community. Through this program, our goals are to help students to be academically prepared, community-oriented, professionally responsible and experienced leaders.
DECA focuses on soft skills that 57% of businesses believe are an important part
of employment today.
The reason I am passionate about DECA is that I know what a career in business looks like—I joined Eastside Catholic School after 15 years of working for a Fortune 500 company. My business experience has shown me that the skills taught through the DECA curriculum and competitions will prepare our students for the opportunities ahead—in their college experience and future careers.
DECA focuses on soft skills that 57% of businesses believe are an important part of employment today. We refer to these skills as 21st-century skills which include critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and teamwork and creativity.
What DECA Alums Say
I recently surveyed former Eastside Catholic DECA members about the impact they felt the program had on their lives.I was struck by consistently positive responses.
- 95% gained problem-solving skills
- 88% became more effective leaders
- 88% made connections with the real world
- 87% expressed greater preparation for college and career
- 86% reported having a grade point average of a B or higher
Two Eastside Catholic alumni who competed and qualified for Nationals in 2018-19 offered the following thoughts about their experiences:
“DECA helped me feel confident and strong in the way I present myself professionally. The sense of accomplishment after successfully competing in a role-play event created a springboard to pursue more ambitious goals that I would have otherwise shied away from…DECA has played a huge role in my life in attaining past internships and when applying for future competitive roles.”
Brian D. ‘19
“DECA is about experiencing a mock business world. DECA shows you what a positive, yet competitive, environment the business world is. I gained clarity for my future career when I competed against people from around the world at our International DECA competition.”
Alex S. ‘19
After just two years of advising the program, I have witnessed student’s maturity, focus and motivation improve as they set their sights on competing at the national level. DECA’s comprehensive learning program using these important soft skills daily in the classroom and competitions allows for the development of a greater range of student cognitive abilities. I believe that regardless of the path our students take, these skills will provide them with lifelong advantages.