Motivational speaker Carlos Ojeda addresses 250 high school students during the recent DECA Conference at Moraine Valley Community College. | Supplied Photo
Updated: January 31, 2013 6:02AM
Young leaders and aspiring business entrepreneurs from eight regional high schools gathered recently at Moraine Valley Community College for the DECA conference. More than 250 students discussed the current job market, careers and other professional topics.
The DECA program, created more than 60 years ago, helps prepare 45,000 high school students from across the country for college and careers in marketing, finance, technology, hospitality and management.
According to Mike Patterson, a business and technology education teacher at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and South Region Illinois DECA president, the conference exposes students to possible career interests, and the workshops help them develop skills and business etiquette.
During the conference, which also was sponsored by DeVry University and the Moraine Area Career System, motivational speaker Carlos Ojeda discussed education, leadership, community activism and entrepreneurship. Students attended a breakout session to interact in groups to develop their networking and communication skills.
Suzanne Kendryna, assistant director for MACS, has partnered with regional high schools, including Andrew, Chicago Christian, Plainfield East, Rich Central, Rich East, Rich South, Sandburg and Stagg, for six years to make this annual event possible.
“Each year we receive positive feedback from faculty and students for providing students an opportunity to participate in a professional conference and expose them to relevant career resources and advice,” Kendryna said.
DECA also sponsors workshops and competitions to coincide with its conferences.
“These students love to compete, and most will be attending a competition in January,” Patterson said.
Those who compete well in January will represent their region in the state competition in March.
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