DECA’s local impact

In the business world, preparation is key to many forms of success. Enter DECA (formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America). DECA aims to give high school students the skills needed to enter the workforce prepared and ready for that success.

What is DECA? DECA is a global high school business organization whose main goal is to prepare emerging young leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Worldwide, over 185,000 high school students are members. (source: While DECA’s large-scope benefits may be easier to see, local impact may need a closer look. In order to see the local benefits, we need to ask the right questions.

The following questions were asked of Stephanie McElwrath, the DECA Advisor for the Penn High School Chapter in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Q. What opportunities are there for local businesses to be involved?

A. Local businesses can be involved in DECA by being on a chapter business advisory board, allowing students to do projects based on their businesses (and in turn being able to use any information or marketing products created free of charge), sponsoring chapters and judging DECA competitions on the local, state and national levels.

Q. Why should local businesses get involved in local DECA chapters?

A. Local business involvement will only make the DECA chapters stronger. Teaming up with these outgoing young people not only helps to give businesses a fresh look at their product or service, but it also can create networking opportunities for the businesses with their target market.

Q. In what ways are DECA alumni encouraged to be involved and help the community?

A. DECA is a strong organization and because of that, their alumni are very committed to helped current DECA students.  Alumni are encouraged to help mentor current students, judge competitive events and host DECA students at their businesses.  Because a large majority of DECA alumni attend a 4 year college, alumni can also help current DECA students by mentoring them on what to expect in college, majors, etc.

Q. What are local DECA chapters doing to help the community?

A. Local DECA chapters are heavily encouraged to help the community by using their entreprenuerial and marketing skills to run fundraisers that benefit local and national non-profit charitable organizations. These community service projects are done annually by most DECA chapters. With the local integration with the leading youth within the community, DECA stands to not only build invaluable relationships, but improve and strengthen the local economic health along the way.

If you, or know someone who has DECA experience, tell us your story in the comments below.