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Career and Technical Student Organizations: Extending Employment Preparation Beyond the Classroom

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By Rebecca B. Evers, Ed.D.

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)*

Membership is available to students (including associates and alumni) in secondary and postsecondary schools who are interested in learning leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills. Activities include co-curricular programs where members demonstrate their business technology skills, develop their professional and leadership skills, network with one another and professionals across the nation, and get involved in the community through work projects.

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA)

Students, alumni, and teachers of marketing, management, and entrepreneurship are eligible for membership. Benefits of membership include scholarships, leadership training, conferences, co-op job placements, and partnerships with the more than 60 national businesses and educational institutions. DECA sponsors co-curricular competitive events with monetary awards to winners.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

Secondary students interested in a business or business-related career may join FBLA, and middle school students may join FBLA-Middle Level. Benefits of membership include opportunities to attend the national leadership conference, seminars, and institutes for chapter officers.

Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

Secondary students in family and consumer sciences education through grade 12 are eligible for membership. Activities are centered on topics of concern to youth, such as teen pregnancy, parenting, family relationships, substance abuse, peer pressure, the environment, nutrition and fitness, teen violence, and career exploration.

National Future Farmers of America (NFFA; formerly the Future Farmers of America)

Membership is available to both secondary and postsecondary students enrolled in agricultural education programs who are preparing for careers in agricultural marketing, processing, communications, education, horticulture, production, natural resources, forestry, agribusiness, and other diverse agricultural fields.

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