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 www.blog.al.com on September 24, 2013 and has been reposted on the JLDC web site.