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What is DECA?

Founded in 1946, DECA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization with more than 200,000 high school members, 4,500 advisors, and 15,000 postsecondary collegiate division members around the world. The student members of DECA are smart, dedicated individuals already actively involved in preparing for successful careers in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, hospitality and management. California DECA is a member association of DECA Inc. with almost 5,000 members.

DECA members are experienced in workplace skills and are proven leaders within their peer groups and their neighborhood communities. The majority—generally juniors and seniors in high school—hold jobs, and a surprising percentage of members own their own businesses. Eighty-six percent of DECA members will pursue postsecondary education.

DECA is not extracurricular. Rather, DECA is co-curricular and designed to be an integral part of the classroom instructional program. DECA provides teachers and members with educational and leadership development activities to merge with the classroom instructional program, teaching the skills that a successful career in business requires. Working hand-in-hand with the educational and business communities, DECA’s goal is for its members to develop a “career success kit” to carry into their professional and personal lives after graduation, including

  • Occupational skills needed for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and entrepreneurship
  • Leadership skills
  • An understanding and appreciation of civic responsibility
  • Ethical behavior in personal and business relationships
  • An understanding of the role of our free enterprise system in the global economy
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