Our Mission

DECA’s mission is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

DECA’s core values and attributes are competence, innovation, integrity and teamwork. These values are central to DECA’s mission and purpose in classrooms around the world.

Our Story

California has always been a place of unlimited innovation, monumental discovery, and a place where, no matter your circumstances, you can achieve big dreams, which is why our great state adopted “Eureka”, meaning “I found it!” as our motto after the discovery of gold. And in that same Californian sprit, California DECA, since our chartering in 1951, has always supported the unparalleled innovation of our students, providing students with opportunities to discover new interests and develop essential skills for a 21st century workforce, all while serving as a place where students from the most rural parts of our state to our largest cities can make their dreams a reality.

If you have been looking to be part of an organization whose members share the same passion for innovation and discovery that helped build California and make it the entrepreneurial leader it is today, we believe once you learn more about California DECA, you will proudly proclaim Eureka!

From the discovery of gold to the technology boom of the Silicon Valley, growth, expansion and innovation have been the hallmark of successful businesses and organizations over these last many years and the same is true for California DECA. To keep pace with the growing needs of a changing workforce and evolving education system, California DECA has worked tirelessly to expand and innovate our programs to ensure our students are at the cutting edge of college and career readiness.

Since 1951, California DECA has seen many changes, and for some, you may remember our organization with a different name. Previously we have been branded as Future Retailers of California, Marketing Clubs of California, and Distributive Education Clubs of America. As is the case with all successful businesses and organizations we have continued to innovate while staying focused on a gold standard of student success in college and career readiness—a standard we continue to excel in. Through DECA, 50% of our members are already acquiring career experience through employment, 86% of our members are excelling academically with A or B averages, and nearly 30% are interested in starting their own businesses.

DECA was founded as “Distributive Education Clubs of America.” Distributive Education was the traditional name for marketing and entrepreneurship education when DECA was first founded. In the modern era “distributive education” is no longer used and we’ve grown to be an international organization with thousands of members beyond the U.S. with a common mission statement: DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

We have eight guiding principles that will give you more insight into our commitments to the students, schools, and communities we aim to serve. Each of our eight principles is represented in our organizations emblem—the DECA Diamond. The inner four points of the DECA Diamond represent the purpose of our compressive educational programs. Simply put, these four points help to answer the question, “What does DECA do?”


  • Integrates into the classroom learning
  • Applies learning
  • Connects to business
  • Promotes competition

The outer four points of the DECA Diamond are also symbolic to the efforts of California DECA. These four points help to answer the question, “What does DECA aim to achieve?” For our students, and all of our stakeholders, California DECA strives to ensure they are:

  • Academically prepared
  • Community oriented
  • Professionally responsible
  • Experienced leaders

Using these eight principles, California DECA continues to excel as a co-curricular organization that connects the learning students are doing in the classroom with real world experience and industry connections. We believe this differentiates us from many clubs and extra-curricular activities that students participate in because our organization is designed to be an integral part of the classroom instruction.

California DECA is a Chartered Association of DECA Inc.: a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization with more than 215,000 members in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain. The United States Congress, the United States Department of Education and state, district and international departments of education authorize DECA’s programs.

DECA’s Competitive Events

DECA’s competitive events program directly supports our mission. As an integral part of the classroom curriculum, DECA’s industry-validated competitive events are aligned with the National Curriculum Standards in the career clusters of marketing, business management and administration, finance, and hospitality and tourism. DECA’s flagship evaluation process involves students in both a written component such as an exam or report and an interactive component with an industry professional serving as a judge. DECA’s competitive events directly contribute to every student being college and career ready when they graduate from high school.

Learn More about DECA Competitive Events

Want to Learn More?

Now that you have gotten a glimpse of our history and the story of our organization, we invite you to connect with us. For more information on how you can be a part of and help tell the story of California DECA, please connect with us.