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DECA: What is it?

DECA is a student-centered organization whose program of leadership and personal development is designed specifically for students enrolled in marketing education classes.

DECA is the only student organization operating in 50 states, the U.S. Territories, Canada and other regions that attracts individuals to productive careers in marketing, management, business and merchandising. It is a co-curricular organization and serves as an integral part of the classroom instructional program.

DECA is important to the individual student, the school, the business community and its alumni.

Illinois DECA currently serves over 3000 members in about 55 chapters across the state.

Who belongs to this dynamic organization?

Any student enrolled in marketing education where there is a DECA chapter can join DECA. In classrooms throughout the country, students form their own chapters and elect their own officers. Marketing education teachers/coordinators serve as individual chapter advisors. DECA chapters are self-supportive, with members paying chapter, area, state association and national membership dues.

Why is DECA important to the business community?

DECA advisors and chapter members take an active part in the development and growth of the communities in which they live and work. Students learn, while still in school, the vocational understanding necessary to compete in marketing, management, business and merchandising careers. These career-oriented young people are actively involved in creative marketing projects directly related to the careers of their choice.

Why are DECA related activities important to your school?

DECA chapter activities contribute substantially to the primary purpose of school to develop well educated citizens who have self-confidence, self-esteem, leadership ability, and an understanding of the American Free Enterprise System. DECA chapters are invariably "showcases" for student achievement and progress, reflecting favorably on teachers, DECA advisors, and school administrators at both the local and state level.

What DECA is and what we stand for---

In 1946 the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) organized around an ambitious goal: to improve educational and career opportunities for American students. In the years since its formation, DECA has remained on the cutting edge of educational innovation and has become nationally known for integrating academic achievement with vocational skills and creating linkages with the business community.

Over time, the needs of our membership have changed, and we have changed to meet them--long ago outgrowing the modest network of "distributive education clubs" mentioned in our name. Although we're much larger now, the fundamental reasons we formed remain at out core: First, effective marketing education gives young people the tools and aptitudes they need to pursue their dreams. Second, marketing education works best when it's part of an integrated education program.

With 180,000 student members and faculty advisors (over 2,000 in Illinois), we function as the companion student organization to over 6,000 marketing education programs in secondary and post-secondary schools throughout the U.S. and its territories, and Canada. Our once-revolutionary concept of providing students with direct access to marketing theories and practical experience, and helping them develop leadership skills has become a model for effective educational alternatives.

DECA's mission remains constant: to enhance the co-curricular education of students with interests in marketing, management and entrepreneurship. DECA helps students develop skills and competence for marketing careers, build self-esteem, experience leadership and practice community service. DECA is committed to the defense and marketing education and the growth of business and education partnerships.

Amid the clamor for educational reform, DECA's vision of educational innovation and excellence serves as a beacon and its many successful programs stand as models for other educational programs.

Mission Statement:

To assist local Chapters in the growth and development of DECA.

To further develop a respect for education in marketing and management, which will contribute to occupational competence.

To promote an understanding and appreciation for the responsibilities of citizenship in our free, competitive enterprise system.

Vision Statement:

To provide the DECA experience for every marketing student who seeks it throughout Illinois.


All that we do will be governed by our unrelenting commitment to integrity, leadership development and success.

Symbols & Traditions:

The official DECA emblem is a diamond design. Each point of the diamond signifies a working part of the organization. The four points of the DECA diamond are: Vocational Understanding, Civic Consciousness, Social Intelligence and Leadership Development.

Illinois DECA in Brief:

Illinois DECA began as the Illinois Association of Future Distributors (IAFD) in 1946

The Illinois Association of DECA was chartered in 1957

Membership: 55 chapters with over 3,000 members