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Thousands Gathered in Birmingham for Leadership Conference

More than 4,500 Alabama students gathered in Birmingham this week for leadership conference

By Marie Leech

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – More than 4,500 students were in Birmingham the last two days for the 2013 Joint Leadership Development Conference, aimed at preparing youngsters for career and college success.

High school students from across the state who are involved with Alabama’s JROTC programs, Career Technical Student Organizations [DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA], JROTC and the Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates programs were invited to the two-day event, held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Complex.

Students were able to participate in more than 30 leadership workshops and interactive activities and visit with nearly 100 state and national industries, as well as the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Manufacture Alabama, and CARCAM.

Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said the leadership training going on at the conferenced is “critical” to developing a well-rounded student.

“Just look around at the hands-on experience and knowledge these students are gaining,” he said. “Then on the other side of that, these companies can show their wares. It’s education outside of the classroom.”

To be successful in the future, many national experts now believe that America’s students must have a more diverse educational experience – including business, financial literacy, and career development.

Dejah Crossfield, a freshman at Birmingham’s Ramsay High School, is involved in Future Business Leaders of America and came to the conference to broaden her network.

“I do a lot of activities in school and join a lot of organizations, and one of the workshops I attended here taught me about balancing all of those activities so I won’t crack,” she said.

Dejah said she also attended a team-building workshop and has enjoyed meeting new people.

“The more people you have in your network, the greater opportunities will be available to you,” she said.

Race Putman, a junior at Skyline High School in North Alabama, said the conference enhanced what he already knows about being a leader.

“I’ve learned you can’t be shy,” he said. “You’ve got to get up and do something; you can’t sit back and watch it happen.”

Matthew Hyatt, a sophomore at West Limestone High School in North Alabama, said he particularly enjoyed the classes on how to be responsible in a workplace.

“I’ve learned that dedication, commitment, opportunities, how to hold a future job, and training can lead to a better future,” he said. “And I’ve learned how to have leadership in the classroom and outside the classroom.”

This article originally appeared on on September 24, 2013 and has been reposted on the JLDC web site.

Over 5,000 students attended JLDC.

Thousands Attend Student Leadership Conference

Thousands attend student leadership conference

By Edward Burch

BIRMINGHAM – AL – Some of Alabama’s young leaders are learning from Alabama’s current leaders.  More than 5,600 students are at the BJCC this week for the annual Joint Leadership Conference.

The ‘theme’ of this conference is “Off Balance, On Purpose.” Meaning, these young men and women will face a variety of challenges. They’re told to embrace those challenges in order to grow and find purpose.

Lincoln High School junior Thomas Hogeland wants to be a firefighter. Hogeland believes he can turn that dream into a reality. “You can learn and find out what you want to do in life and have opportunities to do that,”
says Hogeland. “If you know what you want to do, you can start working your way up to your goals and find out what you need to do to get to those goals.”

This leadership conference is designed to teach students how to be successful leaders as they transition either to college or straight into a career.

That’s exactly why state superintendent of education Dr. Tommy Bice emphasizes career readiness and a hands on approach in education.  ”We’ve re-defined a high school graduate,” says Bice. “So they can meet the need of two year colleges, technical schools, four year colleges and business and industry. One of the things they told us very specifically is they need students who not only know information, but know what to do with it, and apply it to real world situations.”

More than 90 industries from across the state and the nation are in Birmingham for the conference.

Students like Sabrina Alexander and Ashley DeGrave latched on to the opportunity to network.

Alexander says, “There’s just a lot of other things that I think I could end up doing.”

“This is a big opportunity, this is helping me a lot,” DeGrave says.

Governor Robert Bentley created the state’s college and career readiness task force, to ensure students had the best opportunities when entering the workforce. 

He’ll be the first to say, providing these students with proper education and training will create more opportunities in Alabama.

“That is really the number one way that I can recruit industry into the state of Alabama is to tell them that we have a good workforce in this state,” Bentley explains.

Ultimately this conference is about showing students not to limit themselves, and accept challenges in order to achieve their goals. 

Hogleand took that message to heart

”You always need to be trying new things,” says Hogeland. “Keep moving forward, never stop learning, keep learning throughout your life.”

This article originally appeared on on September 24, 2013 and has been reposted on the JLDC web site.

Governor Bentley speaks to school administrators and counselors and economic and workforce developers.

Governor Bentley Speaks about Workforce Development

Governor Bentley speaks about workforce development in Birmingham Tuesday

By Shannon Delcambre

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Governor Robert Bentley was in Birmingham Tuesday, speaking teachers and students from across the state. (more…)

Featured PresentersSee More >

Winston Groom

The world will never be the same once you’ve seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump.

Forrest Gump is The New York Times bestselling novel that inspired the Academy Award® winning film starring Tom Hanks. Both the book and movie are full of memorable lines and quotes, including “Run, Forrest! Run!” and “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Nearly 30 years since the book was first published, and 20 years since the movie become a classic, Alabama JLDC is honored to announce the author of Forrest Gump, Winston Groom, as a featured speaker for JLDC 2014!

Bobby Jon Drinkard

Bobby Jon Drinkard is a native of Troy, Alabama. Drinkard attended Troy University, where he graduated in May 2003, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism and Public Relations. Upon graduation from Troy, Bobby Jon moved to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in entertainment.

Donica Knight

Country Singer

Donica Knight’s music inspires the soul, invigorates the mind and encompasses an undying passion for the art itself. A Montgomery, Alabama native, Knight has just begun to scratch the surface in Nashville. Along with her tireless drive to perfect her craft, Knight’s distinctive voice is a breath of fresh air in the country format. 

Tom McNeal

National competitor in motorcycle and bicycle action sports, motivational speaker and senior Human Resources Professional

Tom McNeal is a native of Arab, Alabama. As a teenager his goal was to be an extreme sports athlete who wouldn't need further education. However, his participation in Future Business Leaders of America during high school helped him see the world differently and he realized the need for developing skills and furthering his education. While in high school, he moved up the ranks to become the #2 Pro trials bicycle rider in the U.S. as well as representing our country in the world championships. McNeal took off a few years from riding to attend Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. He graduated from the University of Montevallo with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration, and then graduated from Athens State University with a bachelor of science degree in human resources.

Kent Julian

Kent Julian is a lot of things: a speaker, an entrepreneur, an author, a swim coach, and a family man. But, he is “not your normal” youth expert. He has led local youth programs, served as National Director of Alliance Youth, and his master’s program dissertation was on youth development and “how organizations can effectively serve, lead, and impact the next generation."

He challenges his audiences to SHOW UP AND SHINE in their life and leadership so that they can live into their bigger stories and authentically take 100 percent ownership of their lives.

Alabama DECA Alabama FBLA Alabama FCCLA Alabama FFA Alabama HOSA Alabama JAG Alabama JROTC Alabama SkillsUSA Alabama TSA